After a long 6 hour drive, Andrew and I arrived at Messiah College (south of Harrisburg, PA), for the Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference. As we checked-in I met a few old friends, and the faithful staffers from the local BT office. What joy it is to renew friendships in Christ.
The first session featured Rev. Iain H. Murray speaking from John 21:19-21. This is called the “conference sermon” as it sets the tone and theme for the gathering. Iain presented the 250+ pastors here with an encouraging picture of Christ, the Head of the church. Jesus’ words to Peter
tell us of the Christian’s primary duty: “Follow Me!” We are to live with Christ, lean on Chirst and be (as the first Christians were called) “people of the way.”
During the break After Iain spoke, I was able to greet my good friend — and to my surprise he had a copy of his newest book (on D. Martin Lloyd-Jones), already signed and inscribed to me. A precious gift from a dear brother in the Lord!
1:6 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, 7 for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. — 2 Timothy ESV
FAN INTO FLAME
After a fine meal, the Tuesday evening session featured someone new to me, Pastor Craig Troxel of Wheaton, IL. Speaking from 2 Timothy 1:6-7 he very effectively reminded us pastors about the gift of grace that we have from our Lord. We do not need a new gift. What we have can be neglected and (God forbid) extinguished. So we need to fan into flame that which we have received. We must draw near to Him to do so. Strength does not come from within, but from God. As Paul wrote to the Ephesians (6:10), Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. With many other helpful words Pastor Troxel spoke to me in ways I truly needed to hear. (Thank you, Lord, for this helpful message!).
After a walk through the bookstore, and then back to the dormitories, I enjoyed a quick call home and a brief chat with Andrew. It was ‘early’ so I tried to do some reading stretched out on the bed. I don’t really how many times I nodded off, then regrouped! I finally set the books aside and got some much needed sleep.