Another article which shows the exercise with which a believer approaches a conference.
There is and always has been something uplifting about a conference. There is the anticipation of the upcoming weekend when one will see fellow believers and have a chance, otherwise rare, to spend time with peers and catch up on what’s going on in places that we used to go but haven’t been for such a long time. It is a time to have stressful lives put back into some sensible order, to get on track again, to be rekindled. But why do I go to conferences? All of the fellowship and time together is vital to us as Christians in a hostile world, and it is very enjoyable.
But why am I there? As a father of children, as a husband, as a member of my local assembly, are there more compelling reasons for my being there, and sitting in the meetings?
In the Old Testament when God’s people came together and God’s Word was opened, the results were often notable. Many times the people went away and they were exercised to do a work for God that had long been neglected.
Often, God’s people would go from their gathering together, and they would remove the things that had sprung up in their experience that hindered their spiritual wellbeing. There were improper alliances that had been forged and they made their way from those gatherings to make right the associations that they had wrongly developed. There were even sacred groves and poles to false gods that they themselves had built up and planted which had to be cut down and removed.
When I go to a conference, I hope it is with that realization of what should happen to me as a result of the preaching of God’s Word. I should come away exercised to do a work for Him that has long been neglected. There is so much I can do in my local assembly, so much that has fallen into disrepair in my own life. There is so much need among this little flock of God’s people that I have iguored for my own interest, and my own involvement in the world. I write off so many things which need to be done, because I feel incapable of doing them in my assembly What about those things I have to do right at my elbow? I have allowed myself to fall into the group-think of the world around me, and I have succumbed to the philosophy that there are really more demands on my time than others have had in past days. I think that although I would like to be at all the meetings with all of my family present, it is just not practical.
When I go to a conference, I would like to have that fire rekindled and that sagging desire and commitment regenerated. The messages that I hear at a conference are often geared toward living for Christ, and I am often made to realize the failing condition of my own personal testimony to those around me. I get correction for my wayward heart and devotional food, to point my gaze to the only One who can help me carry on. A conference can give me the adjustment that I need from individuals who know little about my personal experience, but who just seem to hit my problems and experiences head-on and can guide me on how to deal with them. At conferences I am brought back in my mind to those conferences past when I was spoken to so deeply that my entire life experience to this point changed as a result, and I long for that kind of experience again. When I go to a conference, I have a chance to take an inventory of all of those things which have sprung up or have been raised up in my life by me which are directly contrary to God’s Word.
As we raise our children, it is easy to adopt the standards and methods of the world, instead of God’s Word. At conferences, we can meet with other parents and families our age, and we can discuss teaching we have received and also problems which we face day by day Who knows the darkness that our children will face in their lives? Here they have a chance to develop relationships which will serve them well as they grow up and also in later life when they begin to think about life partners. Without such relationships developed in early life, they may look elsewhere for friends, partners, and activities as they grow older. I feel that we are far more willing to stay home from a conference using our children as an excuse than were our parents. I wish I had enough faith to simply go with my family and leave the weekend in God’s hand trusting that He will use it for our ultimate good. I need the commitment to go for the Friday night prayer meeting and stay until after the Sunday night gospel meeting. My parents saw the importance of it. Why don’t I?
At a conference, my children can learn as I did, that there is more to gathering in His name than our small local assembly. There are many small local assemblies, each unique, yet each with the same truth upheld. We can receive more teaching, and enjoy more fellowship in one conference weekend than we could likely receive in any other venue in such a short period of time.
When I go to a conference, I long to see brethren and sisters whom I have not seen or visited with for a while. I long to have my children develop acquaintances among the Lord’s people. More importantly, I long to get spiritual food for my hungering soul. I need restoration, I need instruction, I need exhortation, and I need correction, and those things come for all of us when we spend time together around God’s Word with open hearts.