The Monday night service was well attended with around 70 present, mostly preachers and their families. Host pastor Derek Eckels welcomed everyone to the meeting and spoke about his desire for the preaching to focus on and develop the themes of holiness, surrender, and brokenness. After congregational singing and some special music from the Forrester family, Pastor Eckels introduced the evening’s preacher, Pastor C. R. Curtman of Baptist Church in Wildwood, MO.
Pastor Curtman preached from Galatians 6:14 and titled his message “Purity and the Cross.” The apostle Paul gloried in the cross, not in his accomplishments, education, religion or position. The cross brought Paul both salvation and victory over this world. As Paul contemplated the cross, any wrong attitude that he had toward the world was changed, any affection that he had for the world was diminished, and any advantage that the world had over him was canceled. Like Paul, we can only find victory over the world in the cross of Christ. We too often mind earthly things. But when we consider what the world did to Christ, we will see how evil the world is. As we contemplate the cross, our purity grows, the world loses it charms, and our desires change. If we are crucified to the world and the world is crucified to us, the world no longer has any use for us. The world derives no services from a dead man.
On Tuesday morning, the first preacher was Pastor Jeff Quigley of Liberty Baptist Church in Lamar, MO. He preached on the topic of surrender from 1 Samuel 18 and the life of David. Pastor Quigley defined spiritual surrender as giving up to God. He stated that Saul was a good king, but David was a great king, and the difference between the two was surrender. Through the course of his message, Pastor Quigley identified surrender in three different ways. First, surrender is obedience. Whom do you serve? Second, surrender is allegiance. It’s not just obedience, but loyalty. Third, surrender is resonance, reflecting or echoing God. Pastor Quigley left us with these questions: “Whom do you lead, whom do you impact, and what will you leave behind when you’re gone?”
The second preacher of the morning was Pastor Wes Stewart of Bible Baptist Church in Cassville, MO. He preached Isaiah 6:1-8 on the topic of brokenness. When we see God for Who He is and ourselves for who we are, we will surrender. We must be broken before God can use us, and the start of brokenness is in suffering and loss. When we suffer loss, we either get bitter or we get broken. In brokenness, we must seek God, and He will give us strength. The presence of God convicted and humbled Isaiah. When Isaiah saw the glory of God, Isaiah saw his own sinfulness and God’s sovereignty. Brokenness leads to surrender, which leads to obedience, which leads to faithfulness.
To close the meeting, Pastor C. R. Curtman preached once more. His message, titled “Practical Holiness,” was from Ephesians 1:3-4. When we are saved, we have a new nature and a new craving for holiness. Holiness isn’t the way to salvation, but it is an evidence of salvation and a way to identify with Christ. God’s will is for us to be holy. He chastens us that we might be partakers of His holiness, and He calls us to be conformed to the image of Christ. God wants His church to be holy, not entertaining. Culture changes, but there is no shelf life on the teaching of holiness. Holiness requires day to day decisions as we put on the new man. There is a true holiness and a false holiness. True holiness does not consist in externals; the proof of true holiness is love. Spirituality is never hateful. Love is the litmus test, the single decisive factor. Without love, we are reduced to Phariseeism. Our holiness should be motivated by our love for the Master and shown by our love for others.
Following the Monday evening service and both before and after the Tuesday morning service, the church ladies prepared excellent food in the fellowship hall. Those who attended the meeting were able to enjoy the food and have plenty of time for fellowship. Thanks to Pastor Eckels and all those at Calvary Baptist who prepared and served during the meeting! – Daniel Ligon
Listen to the audio messages from the December meeting by clicking the links below.
Session 1 (C.R. Curtman)
Session 2 (Jeff Quigley)
Session 3 (Wes Stewart)
Session 4 (C.R. Curtman)