After some time for fellowship (and helping a brother try to repair a laptop), the Wednesday afternoon sessions began … with something rather different. At 3:15 PM Pastor Mark Johnston (a Trustee of the Banner of Truth, a pastor from the UK) spoke for 15 minutes on “The Minister’s Needs” as a ‘mini-session’ of the conference. Feeling like a distance runner grabbing a cup of water without breaking stride, we got three brief points on the subject that were fairly potent: (1) We need to find real friends among God’s people, (2) we need contact with the unconverted in the world, and (3) we most need a deepening communion with God.
At the 3:30 PM session, Pastor David Campbell (a Scot serving a baptist church in Carlisle, PA) spoke on “Feeding the Flock” from Titus 2-3. These are two of my favorite chapters in the Bible, and it was a joy to be reminded of their directives for ministry.
DINNER WITH A BLOGGER
Having introduced myself to big-time blogger TIM CHALLIES at the T4G Conference in Kentucky, and finding him to be a neat young guy, I was pleased to connect with him at the Banner Conference too. We grabbed dinner together and chatted a little about a lot of things: the nature of the current upswing of interest in reformed theology, conferences and their differences, the work of Francis Schaeffer, contemporary music, and father’s day presents (I’m hoping for that CHS bobble-head doll myself). I thank God that Tim, with his growing influence among believers, is a straight-forward and clear thinker, with a passion for truth and accuracy (for instance, his blog posts on the conference are accurate and helpful). He asks good questions and listens well. He is also much funnier in person than on my computer monitor (let it out more, Tim)! I’m glad you work hard at what you do, and hope you keep it up for years to come.
OUR PRESENT NEEDS
The highlight of the conference (for me and many) came after supper, as Rev. Iain H Murray spoke on “Our Present Needs.” As one brother later smiled with satisfaction and said, “It was vintage Murray!” He identified four broad points, and illustrated them well from church history and various scriptural allusions. I hope to share these this Sunday night at church (you are welcome to attend!).
Our first need (setting the stage for the others) is for LESS self-confidence. Are you aware of how you show your self-confidence in so many ways? One clear way is in the size of our prayer life — little time in prayer reveals too much self-confidence.
Our second need is for increased and persevering faith. We need far more faith in God’s Word, and HIs love and goodness towards us who believe.
Our third need is for guidance in the best use of our time. Here Iain spoke directly to the younger men at the conference with several good, practical words of direction (from which all present seemed to profit).
Our fourth need is not to stop praying and looking for great changes, even for a great awakening. There is a form of dissatisfaction that is the fruit of faith (as opposed to dissatisfaction with the providence of God, which is sinful). Let us pray and labor expectantly. Yet, let us not expect the ‘extraordinary’ (like heaven-sent revivals) to be our ordinary experience. We may always be confident that what Christ does in and through us will last.
Thank God for Iain Murray, a friend, a faithful exhorter from the Word, and a humble servant of Jesus Christ.