Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Going to Carolina (and Back)

Dear Friends and Followers of Jordan's View:

I attended a couple of conferences these past weeks, and I am currently in Clayton, North Carolina, visiting with my wife's family. We plan to hit the road today as we head back to New York, hopefully feeling well enough to get together for Thanksgiving with my family.

Both conferences were really helpful and have challenged me to get serious in my walk. They both featured excellent teaching and well-prepared messages. The first was my church's annual retreat, which was held at Harvey Cedars Bible Conference in Harvey Cedars, NJ the weekend of November 9th. I had the privilege of being on the song leading and worship team for this conference. The energetic speaker, Dennis Newell, exhibited passion and dead earnestness yet, at the same time, very pointed humor, as he gave a hard-hitting 5-part series of messages on discipleship. You can listen to these messages and also view some photos from the retreat, via this link.

The second conference I attended (last Friday-Saturday) was titled "The Truth War- Contending Earnestly for the Faith". It was the 2nd annual Fall Pastor's Conference, of Reformation Truth Ministries (a ministry branch of Springs of Life Church in Durham, NC). The conference was held within the Springs of Life church, which is a little more than an hour's drive from where my wife and I were staying in Clayton (however, I attended the conference solo).

It was a great treat to hear in person two reformed teachers I have been following for some time, have learned from and admire greatly. "Pyromaniac" Phil Johnson, one of my favorite bloggers, gave several messages about defending the faith handed down to us by the apostles in the context of today's postmodern society. James White, the sharp reformed apologist and debater of Alpha and Omega Ministries, was fresh from a debate the night before with an Islamic apologist. He spoke on the challenges of Islam, as well as the reliability of the New Testament documents, an issue which he emphasizes is already a central object of attack in "truth war".

I wasn't familiar with the third speaker, pastor Andy Davis of First Baptist Church in Durham, but found his messages equally impressive in quality and gravity. It was reported, by pastor and master of ceremonies Stan Geyer, that Mr. Davis has memorized the entire New Testament; Andy's command of Scripture was clearly evident during his presentations. Mr. Davis also generously provided a free, small volume on Scripture memorization technique afterward. All the talks, as well as a question and answer session, were recorded, and will be available for purchase as a set.

I had the chance to introduce myself to Phil Johnson and his wife, but unfortunately, didn't avail myself of the opportunity to introduce myself to the other speakers, James White and Andy Davis, being that I was engaged in getting to know other attendees. Those participating included many pastors and elders, as well as some, like myself, who are in training for further leadership. I also briefly spoke with the event's worship leader, Geof Kimber, who intrigued me, especially because he combines in his edifying ministry some of the same talents I hope to also combine in future ministry (musician/songwriter, author, teacher). I intend on staying in touch with him, as well as some of the other men I met there.

Our hosts, David and Linette Price, were very hospitable and accommodating, even as we brought our little terrorist cat Pooky along. David is also a wonderful cook! Our six month old kitten Pooky (also known more formally as Priscilla) set out to dominate the other cats in the Price home from the moment we stepped in, and was successful with her intimidating tactics of growls and hissing. Faith and I joked that our "only child" was really embarrassing her parents by her rude behavior in front of company. I had momentary fantasies of leaving her out here in NC, but she's too darn cute and anyway, they've already got 5 cats to contend with.

Ellen and Emily are sure growing up fast and are sharp as nails (I found this out especially when they strategically whooped me when we played a game of "Life"). We also saw briefly Nicole, (my wife Faith's half-sister), Nicole's two year old, Blaise and significant other, Sanden. Nice folks all. Unfortunately we'll miss Carol Jean, my wife's aunt, who is visiting here for Thanksgiving but doesn't arrive till tomorrow.

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