‘God’s Glory – Our Joy’ Conference 2010
The subtitle of this conference is ‘Building Biblical Churches for the 21st Century’, which is a summary of the nature of the conference. It is directed to all Christians who are actively working in their local churches to bring glory to God. This year the theme was Confronting the Culture, and the addresses were all directed to aspects of the way our churches work in the light of 21st Century culture. The theme was reflected in the titles of the addresses:- ‘Building biblical churches in a godless society’, ‘Building biblical churches in a hi-tec society’, ‘Building biblical churches in an entertainment society’ and, to keep all of these in their proper perspective, ‘Building biblical churches in the light of Christ’s return’.
A theme which ran through all the addresses was that our churches, and the individual Christians within them, must live and work with a different focus from the society around us. Speaking of the church in a godless society, John Palmer showed that we must confront the culture by being different. Using the example of the Thessalonian church he showed how faith, hope and love should be the characteristics which differentiate our churches from the society around us.
On the subject of the church in a hi-tec society David Last pointed out some of the obvious (and some not so obvious) dangers of using the technology which is so readily available, but also the benefits which can be gained by using that technology in the right service of God. He suggested ways that some ‘gadgets’ available to us can help us to make better use of our time in the service of God. However if they are not wisely used some become ‘gods’ themselves, dominating our lives.
Chris Hand warned of the spiritual dangers of the entertainment society. Many are obvious and are clearly visible in the media; others are less obvious as we have all, to some extent, grown up surrounded by a society where entertainment and the pursuit of pleasure are central. The focus on entertainment and pleasure in some church services has led to true spiritual worship and preaching the Word of God giving way to activities intended to make non-Christians comfortable or entertained. The result is not only that services are devoid of reverence toward God but also that many Christians are growing up with a shallow knowledge of God’s Word, and are unable to apply it to their lives, or to share it with those around them. To help us to keep our priorities right, we were reminded of our Lord’s words: ‘If anyone desires to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me’. Chris reminded us that friendship with God is far more satisfying than friendship with the world. He challenged us to be transformed, so that we can discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect (Rom. 3:2).
In addressing the subject of ‘Building biblical churches in the light of Christ’s return’, Martin Grubb started by asking the question ‘Is your church full of biblical hope for Christ’s return?’ Working from Titus chapter 2, he outlined that what we believe about the future affects the way we live. There followed three searching questions: Why has the blessed hope of Christ’s return faded in the minds and hearts of many believers and many churches in the UK? What does the return of Christ mean to us in the light of the New Testament? Where can we fell the thrill of Christ’s return in our churches? In addressing these questions Martin showed how the New Testament church was eager for the Lord’s return, and reminded us all of the difference which that hope makes to our Christian lives.
In the closing sermon Billy McCurrie asked what he described as the most important question ‘Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord, and who shall stand in his holy place?’ (Psa. 24:3). He went on to answer that question from the rest of that Psalm.
Once again the conference was an opportunity to be encouraged to live out our lives in our churches to God’s glory, but it was also a time to meet and renew fellowship with like-minded believers from churches across the North West of England.
Next year’s conference is booked for 14th and 15th October 2011 at the same venue [the Emmaus Church Centre, Warrington]. The addresses from this year’s conference as well as those from previous years can be downloaded from www.ggoj.org.uk.
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