I almost didn’t make it to this conference.
Originally, when the conference was first announced, I didn’t have much interest in attending at all. Additionally, I would be finishing CYIA camp that same day, and I didn’t feel that it’d profit me to go. I figured that it’d be better just to take some time to relax at home and prepare myself for the rest of summer.
But when I looked into the opportunity to go, I saw God’s providence in my ability to make attending the conference work. Before I had known that it would be the last Resolved conference ever, I decided that I wanted to give it a go.
There is zero regret in that decision.
Through the amazing expository preaching from Austin Duncan, John MacArthur, Al Mohler, Rick Holland, Steve Lawson, and CJ Mahaney, I definitely grew a deeper passion and convictions on my view of the church. Particularly, two take-aways I had after the conference is conviction on my own self-righteous view of perfection in the church and an expanded view of potential future pastoral ministry.
1. Ever since attending Grace Community Church and Grace On Campus in the fall of freshman year, I’ve been blessed to be under the pastorship and ministry of John MacArthur, Austin Duncan, Enfield, and Chris Gee week after week. Their ever faithful preaching of God’s Word and their strict adherence to the literal-grammatical interpretation of the Word has caused me to become very critical of my own home church’s view of Scripture and the way they exposite it. This, in addition to my criticism of the worship music they play, caused me to turn hard-hearted towards the possibility of learning anything from my church at home. I became prideful through my growth at Grace On Campus and Grace Church, almost developing a “holier-than-Thou” attitude towards my friends and family because of the major differences I saw between Grace Church and Bridges Community Church/ Fremont Chinese Evangelical Free Church.
Through convictions throughout the year, namely Spring Retreat, as well as the messages from Resolved, I realized my sin in this area of my life and am working on repenting from that. Mahaney preached from Philippians 2:12-16 and emphasized that no church is perfect, but that instead we should be looking at the fruit of the labor of God who works tirelessly and restlessly in sanctifying His church, and giving Him the glory for doing so. By drawing attention to the grace exemplified in the lives around me in the church, God can be glorified. And as presented by Tony Payne, in the end, “it’s not about me… stupid.”
2. As I prayerfully considering pursuing seminary in the future (either near or further down the road), I have had my eyes opened to the role of pastors in the church. They have an extremely difficult job: they are responsible for the souls of the sheep of which they minister to. They will be accountable to God for the ministry that they perform and any heresy and misleading on the pastor’s part ultimately affects the eternity of the congregation. At the same time, it is the utmost priority for him to faithfully minister in the grace that God has granted to him. I heard this quote from CYIA camp, although I can’t cite the original author of this: “God can bestow no greater compliment than to place His book into your hands and call you, ‘teacher’.” If this is my true calling in the future, would I be faithful in this pursuit? Can I manage the responsibility of having the stewardship of the souls of another? There are eternal implications to my ministry should I fail.
Encompassing both points is balancing my love for doctrine with my love for the Lord. Jonathan Rourke reminded me from Rev. 2:1-7 that even though my doctrine may be great, comprehensive, and true, my lack of passion and love for my Creator is my sin that I need to repent from as well. With great classes like Intro to Systematic Theology offered through Grace On Campus and the great expository preaching I receive every week, it has become so easy to form solid doctrine and beliefs, and to concentrate on that aspect of Christianity and Christian living. But I feel that through it, somewhere, I lost my undying passion to live for Him and to love Him beyond all else.
My ultimate resolve? To faithfully pursue future ministry through my own study of Scripture and my love for my Creator. More specifically:
1. To consistently grow through “grace-motivated, consistent application of Scripture and learning over several months or years” (Mahaney).
2. To further recognize the power and work of God and His grace in those around me, especially in the context of my church, and to cultivate that through the ministry that I can offer through my growth at Grace.
This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. -John 17:3 NASB
Oh, that I may know and love Him more.