Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Few Prophets Still Among Us

I went to the Georgia Baptist State Evangelism Conference on Monday and Tues. Overall, it was a great experience, although I had never attended a denominational event, and was a little leary about this one, I went anyway. I don't fit in too well with the "preachery" atmosphere at many of these things, and don't appreciate much of the cultural/traditional flavor of them. But this one was pretty good, mainly because of the speakers. I went to hear Dr. Alvin Reid and Dr. David Platt (pictured below).

Many of the preachers of our day and many of the ones at this event are very good at saying things that get "amens." They are good and working a denominational crowd. They are good at putting on a good show and being entertained by the token black preacher. But there are a few who are unafraid to offend the established leaders, to go against the grain of the culture, to say things that you don't say at conferences on evangelism, and to please their audience of One. These are my heros, mentors, and friends.

And I was not dissappointed! Dr. Reid did a wonderful job at delicately challenging the pastors their to be real and genuine, and to raise up disciples to Christ who will live genuine lives of radical faith. He challenged us to move away from institutionalism and hollow programs to missional living by creative engagement of unbelievers. He challenged us to raise the bar of discipleship among our membership and love people. He was very prophetic.

David Platt was phenomenal. He probably won't get invited back because of his message, but he delivered a blow to the common Southern Baptist understanding of evangelism that was much needed. He powerfully reminded us that we operate with much dependence on anything but programs and our own enginuity. He warned of being denominationally successful and spiritually failing because of slick manipulation and superstitious prayers. I was terribly convicted of my failure to depend on the Spirit to convert, and depend on the Spirit to open the eyes of the congregation, and to depend on Him in sermon preparation, loving my wife and family, basically, everything that I do. Sure, I always acknowledge my need for Him with my words, but at the core: do I really rely on Him for everything? Or do I just say that?

Oh God, please forgive my overestimation of my own sufficiency! Forgive my underestimation of my need for Your work in and through me! Forgive my lack of depence on You! Give me grace to live with this fresh reminder of how much we are to depend on You!

And I also got a good surprise in Josh McDowell's talk about reaching younger generations. He was great! Another prophet indeed. I pray that we are not sacrificing the future generations on the altar of our comfort and weakness in discipleship. God, spare us from complacency in these things too! We need You! Come Holy Spirit, invade our lives, convict us, break us, use us, not to do the things that we want, but the things that You want, and the way that You want them!

I do recommend that you get at least those three messages from the conference if you are interested in prophetic preaching...I am so thankful to God that there are still a few prophets among all the preachers! Pray to the end that God would raise up more from this generation. Blessings!

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