Sovereign Grace Ministries Leadership ConferenceTuesday, April 26, 2005
I was away last week at the Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM) Leadership Conference. It was life-altering, to say the least. Having attended dozens of pastors conferences in my short tenure in ministry, this conference was altogether nothing like the others. So my post on this conference fits this blog rather nicely. Why is that? Because the gospel I blog about here so permeated and saturated the pastors of SGM that I had never seen or experienced a more biblical example of it in all my life. I didn't just hear the gospel...I felt it. It impacted me, hurt me, healed me, encouraged me, comforted me, and filled me with faith. That's just what the gospel is supposed to do.
Of special significance was the break-out session I attended with Mike Bulmore, a pastor in Wisconsin (Sorry, no website or link...I don't even know the name of the church he pastors!). His session was called "The Centrality and Functionality of the Gospel in the Local Church." Everything this blog is about was taught in that session. Here is a man with whom I can identify when it comes to saying things about the gospel the way I do. Or rather, I say them as he does, since he's been researching them for 6-7 years! The key to his session was on making the mental connections between various parts of our lives and the gospel truths. That leads to making the behavioral connections between the various sins in our lives and repentance. Eventually, the session will be made available on the SGM Leadership Conference website (http://www.sovereigngraceministries.org/conferences/leadership/).
Also of special significance was the two and a half hour vigorous conversation I had with Pastor Paul Cooke of Crossway Fellowship Church in Athens (http://www.crosswayathens.org/). He is an SGM pastor and has become one of my dearest friends. Having created a gospel-saturated atmosphere with me for many months, I opened up a part of my heart to him on our 12 hour trip home from Maryland last Saturday. It is a part of my heart that I have always known was cross-wired, a part that needed repairing. Paul demonstrated the able message of the gospel when he did what Bulmore taught in his session. Paul rewired a part of me, connecting the gospel with the parts that needed it and another life-altering transformation was begun. It will take years to undo the years of cross-wired thinking. But with the gospel connection it will hopefully happen much quicker.
Praise God for this wonderful ministry and for the men who love the Savior and minister there!