This last week I was afforded the opportunity to head out east to the Advancing the Church conference held out in Pennsylvania. It was an excellent week around the Word of God, and the sessions provided much direction and points for discussion in relation to preaching the Old Testament in a “Redemptive-Historical” way. Both Tim Jordan and Don Carson hit the “ball out of the park” with their general session messages. A couple of quotes from them were:
“Stand in the counsel of the Word, so that you become a tool of the Word, rather than the Word being a tool you use.” (Jordan-Jer. 23)
“What does your mind gravitate towards when it is in neutral?” (Carson-Ps. 1)
“Being drawn towards holiness will never come by being near wickedness. Flee far from temptation.” (Carson-Genesis 39)
“Do not think that being brought out of the ‘pit’, makes you exempt from going back in later on.” (Carson-Ps. 40)
Certainly, it was good to reconnect with many friends that I had not seen in 11 or more years since I had left school, and it was great to hear how God was using them all in a variety of contexts across the United States.
Perhaps, most special was the opportunity to spend a week at the conference with family. We have a very unique dynamic in our family with my brother, my brother in law, and I all being pastors in three very different contexts of ministry. Add in there my other brother in law heading into the assistant pastorate, and you can only imagine what much of our discussions revolve around when we get together.
In the midst of the friendly sarcasm, antagonistic statements, and reaction provoking thoughts (all proving we are related) nothing sharpens iron, like the iron of family.
Yet, I walked away deeply encouraged having spent time with them thinking about ministry together. There is simply nothing like the fellowship that family affords, and getting to do it around the Word makes it all the more precious. If anything, this last week provoked me to pray for my family all the more-that God’s grace would be evident in their lives, their families, and their ministries regardless of what context they serve.