Monday, April 6th
By the time the evening service began, the auditorium of Berean Baptist Church was filled with a great turnout of pastors, missionaries and staff members along with their respective families. After some lively hymn singing led by Bro. Martin, and a couple of beautiful specials, Pastor Shane Hughes introduced the evening speaker, Pastor Jerry Pyle of Nevada, MO.
First Session Notes
Speaker: Jerry Pyle
Text: Ephesians 1:3-12
Title of Sermon: “The Glory of His Grace”
Bro. Pyle introduced his message by saying his purpose was to show us four things that make the grace of God glorious. His outline consisted of these four reasons, taken from Ephesians 1.
1. God’s grace is glorious because of the attributes of the Person showing the Grace (verse 3-7).
We as Christians show grace to others. And we should. Every born again Christian has an obligation to do this.
But think about the character of the One who came up with grace. It is often admired when humans show grace to their equals. But what is truly glorious is that the Creator God, who needed nothing and no one, who is perfectly pure and holy has extended grace to us. We see how truly glorious grace is when we consider the character of the God who extends it.
2. It is glorious because of the sinfulness of the ones on whom He bestows it (verse 4-7). The Bible does not suggest the human soul has a “spark of good.” In fact, the Biblical imagery of sinners involves pigs wallowing in the mud and dogs returning to their vomit. There is nothing in us that makes us deserving of God’s blessing.
We were reminded of the Syro-Phoenician women as an example. When Christ heard her request, He responded with telling her that it was not fit to give the meat on the table to the dogs. Her response? Total humility: “Truth, Lord.” And each person that comes to Christ must respond to the convicting work of the Spirit with “Truth, Lord.”
We have no claim on his grace, just a need for it.
3. God’s grace is glorious because of the mighty work that it does in the lives of those who accept it (verse 8-11). We have all spiritual blessings in Christ: though we were hopeless sinners, God’s grace enables us to love Him, serve Him, and bring glory to Him with our lives.
No matter how sinful we were before salvation, we have been adopted into God’s family. God’s plan for us was to make us His children by Christ. He not only gives us that position, but He transforms us to fit that position.
He has also abounded to us in wisdom (verse 8). He has given us the revelation of His Word, so that we can live by divine truth.
He is also going to bring His own together into one in His future kingdom that He has revealed to us (verse 9-11). We will be a part of this incredible future, and are promised an eternal inheritance, all because of grace.
4. Lastly, the grace of God is glorious because we now serve Him (verse 12). Grace is not an excuse for sin in our lives, rather it leads us to serve The Lord who gave us grace. But it not only enables us to serve for His glory, it allows us to suffer for His glory. Whether He lets us serve or suffer for His glory, we should rejoice.
God’s grace, then, is nothing short of glorious.
When the sermon concluded, we were led downstairs where homemade desserts awaited all. The volunteers of Berean all displayed badges with the title “Servant;” and, I think all of the attendees would agree, they meant it.
Tuesday, April 7th
Tuesday morning saw another great number of preachers assemble for the meeting. Although I was not able to attend the breakfast provided, I was told that it was quite delicious. The worship service brought us low, with the convicting song, “A World We Never Touch” sang by Nathan Hughes, and lifted us up to rejoicing with the triumphant song “The Judgment.” We were also treated to hear the pastors sing specials, specifically Kent Hogan and Greg McCurley (singing with his wife, Connie). Bro. Martin led in the hymn singing, assisted by Caitlin Estep at the piano.
Second Sessions Notes
Speaker: Greg McCurley
Text: Mark 2:1-5
Title of Sermon: “Lessons on Serving God”
Pastor McCurley read the account of the four men who let down the sick man through the roof to see Jesus. He used this Passage as his foundation, and preached on our service to God as preachers.
1. We need to know that God can surprise us when we serve Him.
We need to be open to however God decides to use us. When we serve God, we discover He surprises us with the situations He places us in for His glory.
The four men in the story were used in a unique way in their service to God. Who would have thought that letting a man down in through a roof would have ended in a soul getting saved? Yet that is exactly what happened. The way in which God used them was anything but planned or predictable, yet they were ready to serve God by helping others, and God used them in an amazing way.
Bro. McCurley related several things from his ministry that were examples of how God can surprise those that serve Him. We have to be ready to whatever it takes in our ministry.
2. We need to know that the people we serve in the process are fragile.
The men in the account of Mark 2 were careful with what they were handling. As undershepherds for the gospel, preachers must have an awareness of the fragility of their sheep.
We need to remember that when God uses us, we will have to be aware of the people we minister to. When we serve God, we discover that people are fragile.
The people we minister to may not all have physical ailments, like the man in the Text, but they are all fragile. Those that don’t know Christ must be handled with care, as well.
Third Session Notes
Speaker: Jim Mackey
Text: Mark 16:14-15
Title of Sermon: “Preach the Gospel.”
Pastor Mackey made no equivocations about what his message would be. He stood and preached what we all need to preach: the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our emphasis as preachers needs to be one thing: Christ’s command to preach the gospel to every creature.
If you are to be known in the community for any thing, it should be that you are a gospel preacher. If the people that know you don’t think that, you have given your attention to things that don’t matter.
Often bogged down by our innumerable programs, fellowships, planning, and meetings, we are tempted to focus on many things beside the gospel of Jesus Christ. When our pre-eminence in our churches is found in anything else, we have the missed the point.
1. Man’s way is unnecessary. We do not need programs to preach the gospel. Programs are not hurtful to the church, but they are no substitute for the message of Christ.
The women came to the tomb with a plan. They were attempting to glorify God by their own efforts, forgetting the resurrection that God had promised. Their motives were good, but The Lord didn’t need their spices: He just wanted them to proclaim Him.
2. God’s way is “Go and tell.” This is the mission we have been given. The mission requires obedience, and we see how the women immediately “went and told.” We know the eleven would as well. The mission is ours no matter the response: even thought the first time it was declared that Jesus was risen, the men didn’t believe it, that did not change the fact that the command was to go and tell.
If our ministries are to be biblical, they must be centered around the gospel. It is our all, it is our everything. Christ has given us no other mission.
After the meeting closed we were treated once again, going downstairs to enjoy lunch.
I think a public show of appreciation is in order, so on behalf of all the attendees I would like to once again extend thanks to Pastor Shane and Lisa Hughes, the speakers, and all of Berean’s volunteers for the thought, prayer and labor that went into this.
Stay in touch for more information about future meetings.
– David Harris 4/7/15