Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Banner 2008 -- Day One

I know as I post this Day two of the banner has already come to an end, which means tomorrow we will be heading home by about 4PM. However, I did want to post on the events of the first day.

As is the practice of the group of men I travel with, we headed down to Pennsylvania on Monday and spent the night at a Motel 6. While there we met up with a group of ministers who traveled up from down South who pastor or serve as elders in the ARP. Together we went out for dinner where there were some excellent discussions in spite of our being tired.

The next day, day one of the Banner conference, we headed into Carlisle for breakfast at a place called Fays, and then went to Cumberland Valley Books. Having made our book purchases we headed to Messiah College. I was pretty sure I knew the way, and I actually did, but I missed a turn so we enjoyed a scenic drive in the area before arriving to register.

Registration went well, although I ordered a shirt size that doesn't fit me. I don't know if that was intentional on my part, or if I accidentally clicked the wrong box. Either way, it is an encouragement to loose weight.

The first session started at 3:30PM with the opening conference sermon by Iain Murray. He focused on the passage from John 21:15-22, in particular the call of Jesus to follow me. In this sermon he pointed out that the call to us is to follow Jesus as well. To seek to keep close to him in all our life. Usually I would take quite detailed notes, but when I hooked up my keyboard to my PDA, I found I had forgotten to install the keyboard drives after my last hard reset, so I simply listened.

One point that was made which stuck in my mind was the reason Jesus told Peter by what death he would glorify God. I had never considered why Jesus would tell Peter this, but Iain Murray pointed out that it was given to Peter to encourage him. He had denied Jesus three times, even having been warned before hand that he would do so. Just before this, three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him which brings those denials to mind. This information on how Peter would glorify God in his death was meant to encourage him, that when the time came, he would not deny Jesus again, but instead would glorify God in his death. What a wonderful reminder of the love and care of our Saviour and Lord to encourage Peter that way.

Supper was good, and it was a time to reconnect with people I have not talked to (at least in person) since last year. I talked for a very short while with Tim Challies, and then went and sat with Peter Butler who I had not seen since last year. He is a fellow RCA minister, and it was good to reconnect.

The second message came after supper, and so I had time to go to my room, download the keyboard driver and install it. My notes are not the greatest, but hopefully they will give you a sense of the message delivered by Craig Troxel entitled "Fan The Flame" based on 2 Timothy 1:6. For some reason (probably that I forgot my binder that I usually set the keyboard on when I don't have a desk handy so it remains stable) I had a difficult time typing. I edited things up, but there are probably still a bunch of errors. The day ended with a run out to Friendlies for Ice-cream. With that, here are my notes from Craig Troxel's sermon:

Banner 2 Craig Troxel

Fan The Flame

2 Tim 1:3-7

1. The Gift

-first we need to remember this is given by the grace of God

-not something you buy or earn or purchase

-in fact we don't deserve it at all

-manifestation of the Spirit

-given for the good of god's people

-to strengthen edify build up

-not a collectors item

-or something we hide away

-all gifts are given to bring about greater purity in the church and the glory of god

-not to brag about

-but for betterment of other people

-Paul points to gift received when Timothy commissioned by the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 1:4) implies gifts are a stewardship

-they have divine origin

-yet still include human responsibility

-as they are entrusted to human hands

-Colossians 1:25 also points to this truth that we are stewards of the gifts given to us

-what a steward does is oversee what does not belong to him

-he doesn't use it for his own good

-but use it for the purpose of God

2 Timothy 4:5 gives a call to fulfill your ministry

-this call can be made because he is a steward of the gift of ministry

-remember the parable of the talents

2. Fanning the gift

-so fan into flame the gift of God

-it is something that needs to be kindled afresh

-that means it can be quenched as well

-sin lack of pray and other things can quench this gift

-even our negligence to fan it can quench it

-the call then is to not neglect it

-but instead to fan it

-lest it go out

-there is very great danger of those who have great gifts

-they can lead to carelessness

-tendency to coast rather than fan the flame of their gifts

-but great gifts bring great obligation

-so seek to excel

-people around us do this all the time

-doctors lawyers and the like

-all seek to increase their abilities

-to strive for excellence

-gifts can fail from self sufficiency

-changes we long to see can only come through a sovereign gift of grace

-yet we should always be striving to be always reforming

-rather than being satisfied with the status quo

3. Gift is of the Spirit.

-our work with all its frustrations forces us to confront our weaknesses and inability

-in doing so we are directed to cast ourselves on God again and again

-because if we seek to do fan the flame of our gift by own strength -we will fail

-we seek to do this instead by going to the source of the gift

-to God

-because we are called to kindle what we cannot inflame

-only god can do this

-so need to seek god

-this is a work of cooperation but not synergy

-so don't confuse means of doing this with the one who causes it

-the Holy Spirit

-so in calling us to fan the flame we are called to fall back on the one who gave the gift and who empowers gift

-this gift must be stirred up, cultivated, stirred up

-but while we use means to do so the one effectively working is the Holy Spirit

-the key to whole passage is this for God gave us a spirit

-not a spirit of fear

-so don't fall back into the fleshly fear and worry

-and not shrink back from declaring truth for fear of men

-or fear of failure

-or fear of guilty conscience

-that says you are unworthy

-it is true you are unworthy

-but the truth that you are unworthy is meant to make you turn to Christ not give way

-the Spirit is here typified by power

-Jesus charge to disciples to wait for Spirit in Jerusalem who will cloth them with power (Acts 1)

-this is only one of several passages in Bible that speak of the Spirit being a Spirit of power

-so the Spirit overcomes fear by his power

-enables boldness for Christ

-so we will not compromise

-this is a gift of love

-gives confidence in God

-his love for us

-comes by abiding presence of the Holy Spirit

-so we know God has not abandoned us

-this is what we need to cultivate in our church as well

-that God does not cast off those who make mistakes

-but receives all who repent

-and it is a gift of self-control

-where did Moses go wrong at Meribah

-told to speak to rock

-but he hit rock

-and did not uphold God as holy before Israel

-he acted in unbelief

-in 1 Corinthians 2:1ff Paul saw the same danger

-that people would put confidence in him if he preached the wrong way

-that they would be distracted away from God

-since he realized this danger is effected both the message he proclaimed and the way he proclaimed it

-this danger comes from forgetting we are stewards of the gift

-and it is not for our good or glory

-need self-control from spirit

-to not give into this temptation

-to be full of faith instead of full of ourselves

-showing power of spirit

-not our own sufficiency

-this is an ongoing battle

-because we are so given to self-sufficiency, arrogance, and thinking that something is ours that never belonged to us in the first place

-Spirit is a Spirit of self-control that works against this

-as we find in Proverbs 27:21, “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.”

-the amazing thing is God uses our meager abilities to do something great

-he can make bad sermons bring about good blessings

-and something we think is really good and have it crumbles before our eyes

-but even this is fanned into flame

-by making us go to the Holy Spirit

-who gives what is needed to fan gift into flame

-the one who gave the gift is the one who inflames the gift

-so go in prayer that gift would be fanned for the people of God

-ministry is a work of faith

-and thus is a ministry of prayer

-go to scripture

-when see how you are the problem holding church back

-Matthew 12:20 the smoldering wick the embers are there

-Christ sees them and will not put them out

-even now they can be fanned

-because the good work Christ began will be continued Philippians 1:6

-when you ascend pulpit as smoldering wick

- Jesus can stir it into life

-for it is his work

-carried out by his Spirit

-we don't always see it

-and that is why it is a ministry is a ministry of faith

-but Satan cannot snuff this gift out

-Christ's grace is sufficient

-and his power made perfect in weakness

-so praise to him


Dan Layman said...

It was great to meet you, Jim. Thanks for blogging the details of the conference (especially the last session which I was 'forced' to miss. Hope you are doing well! ~Dan

Peter said...

Hi Jim, It was great to see you in person and reconnect for me as well. I kept telling my people yesterday how nice everyone from Ontario is! It was a wonderful time, and I thank God that I was able to go and be with you and other faithful brothers. May God be glorifiied. -- Peter

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