(Wednesday, January 15, 2014) Our 2-day Leadership Conference and our 1 day Leader of Leaders Conferences are now over. We had 80 pastors at the former and 30 at the latter. These are the men I know best and work with most often throughout the year. They take what we teach to the pastors and churches they oversee and pass it on to them. They plan and run the local conferences we have in their areas. These people are very special to me, and I to them. It is a joy and privilege to be involved with them. This is why I come.
I feel the conferences went very, very well. They say they were very meaningful to them. God blessed the sessions and touched all of us with His presence in a very real way. I talked about pastoring, leadership, spiritual warfare, family life and spiritual growth. Since these men have been listening to me for years (some since 2006 or 2007) I use new material each time and we can build on previous years. It’s given me the opportunity to really build into their lives. Having these conferences is hard work but well worth the cost.
After the conferences we drove 6 hours further north, then tomorrow we’ll get up early and go another 2 hours to the location for the pastor’s conference for the next 2 days. We are traveling so far because it is a location that is especially neglected as far as pastor training so we want to help them. Pray God would bless the conference and each one who is present (that includes me!).
A couple days ago I spent a large amount of time explaining the armor we are to wear in our spiritual warfare (Ephesians 6). It struck me again how we need each piece, all of it. Salvation, of course, is key – that’s the helmet. Unfortunately too many people stop right there and think that’s the only equipment they Ned. Then they wonder why they are defeated and don’t have joy and blessing. If a soldier goes into battle with only his helmet he will be defeated every time. We, too, need our breastplate (holy living), belt (telling truth from lies), sandals (peace from God), a shield (faith) and a sword (knowing and using God’s Word). You can’t defeat a skilled, experienced enemy with only your helmet!
Ephesians 6:10-18 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
What about you? How has your spiritual growth been in the last 3 months? Are you coasting on your salvation, and then wondering why you do not have the joy and victory you need? You have the helmet of salvation, but what about living a holy life, knowing and following God’s truth and growing in faith? It takes more than salvation to win the battle you are in!