Pastors’ Conference urges dependence on God’s Word
    November 2 2015 by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor

    On a Sunday evening, when most pastors were finishing up their weekly preaching duties, the 2015 N.C. Pastors’ Conference was only beginning. Koury Convention Center in Greensboro was the setting for the Nov. 1-2 gathering that took its theme from Isaiah 55:10-11: “It Shall Not Return Void.”
    Longtime pastor of Providence Baptist Church in Raleigh, David Horner preached the first message of the event from 2 Corinthians 4:1-7, encouraging fellow pastors to be “immersed in the scriptures,” to be overwhelmed by God’s glory and to “prevail in prayer.”


    Alvin Reid

    Horner was followed by Alvin Reid, who holds the Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism and serves as professor of evangelism and student ministry at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). Reid’s research emphasis has been the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s, and he offered three observations about the nature of such movements.
    First, he said a Jesus movement is a movement of the Holy Spirit. “Jesus said ‘you will receive power,’ but He didn’t say you will receive glory,” said Reid, decrying attempts by some pastors to manufacture revival without dependence on God.
    Reid also said a Jesus movement is about Jesus, noting the obvious simplicity of such a statement. In a reference to the ministry of the apostles and early church in Acts, Reid emphasized, “Sometimes they did miracles; they always preached Jesus. Sometimes people were healed; they always preached Jesus. Sometimes people were delivered; they always preached Jesus. Paul always preached Jesus. The early church always preached Jesus.”
    Reid finished by saying a Jesus movement is about the mission of God. “The mission has not changed,” Reid said, referring to Acts 28:31. “The gospel goes forth unhindered, and we are still spreading that gospel.”


    Proclaiming the Bible

    SEBTS president Danny Akin preached from Ephesians 4:1-16, offering 10 guidelines for 21st century churches. Among his points was a strong admonition to teach church members biblical doctrine. Referring to an increasingly anti-Christian American culture, he said, “It is no longer a luxury to know what you believe; it is an absolute necessity.”


    Danny Akin

    Gary Jennings, pastor emeritus at East Taylorsville Baptist Church in Taylorsville, said there are three things that pastors need to know: (1) know you’re born again, (2) know you’re called by God into ministry and (3) know you’re where you need to be and stay there until God moves you.
    He went on to preach from Matthew 4:18-22, saying, “We must be very careful to do those things that he’s commanded us to do, and work – blood, sweat and tears – long hours, hard work, because that’s what it’s going to take to win a lost world to Jesus.”

      “All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” reads 2 Timothy 3:16. It’s a well-known passage among preachers, and it’s one of the verses that framed the message by Richard Davis Phillips, senior minister of Second Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C.
    In the verses that precede 2 Timothy 3:16, Paul warns Timothy about false teachers among his congregation. Phillips extended that same warning to pastors today, calling upon the persevering power of the Bible. “Instead of something new and innovative and worldly we find Paul recommending to Timothy that resource that he has had all along – the word of God – because it is sufficient for times like these.”
    Phillips said “the Word” is sufficient because of what it is and what it does. “Here we have the very revelation of God,” said Phillips. “The fundamental endeavor on which we are banking,” he added, “is the power of God to go forth through the teaching and preaching and witnessing of the word of God for the life and work of the church.”


    Loving the scriptures

    D.A. Carson, research professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Ill., called pastors to consider Psalm 1 in three readings.


    D.A. Carson

    The first reading focused on the content of the Psalm, outlining each verse. Carson then explained the importance of meditating on God’s Word in the second reading, saying, “What we need more than anything is to think God’s thoughts after Him.” He emphasized careful attention to the life of the mind and its influence on integrity, “You’re not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.”
    Carson concluded by turning his focus fully to godly character. Passages like Psalm 1 that put forward absolute statements about good and evil may feel overwhelming to some Christians, because they feel the burden of their moral incompetence. Yet, the Bible also includes narrative stories about men and women that express sincere godliness mixed with deeply flawed morals. Carson encouraged Christians to look to Christ’s cross for resolution to the daily tension between righteousness and sin, quoting from famous hymnist John Newton: “I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am.”
    Greg Lawson, pastor of Union Chapel Baptist Church in Zebulon and SEBTS professor of Christian education, preached from Ecclesiastes 12:9-14. Two points shaped Lawson’s message: (1) fear God and keep his commandments, and (2) judgment is coming.
    “We’re not to fear anyone nor anything except Almighty God,” said Lawson. “Those who have not learned a proper fear of God are tormented by a thousand lesser fears,” he added, saying it was a foundational statement in his life and ministry.
    Lawson also explained two judgments from the scriptures, the judgment of all people and a judgment of Christian works referenced in 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. “Is it your kingdom come or is it God’s Kingdom come?,” he asked, calling ministers to lay a ministerial foundation that is glorifying to God.


    Johnny Hunt

    Johnny Hunt, 25-year pastor of First Baptist Church in Woodstock, Ga., concluded the pastors conference with a message from Psalm 119:81-88 titled “Wineskin in Smoke.”
    Explaining what the psalmist means by “I have become like a wineskin in the smoke,” Hunt said the Christian soul often feels fragile and brittle like a leather satchel that’s been dried by hot, smoky drafts.
    The Christian life is full of trouble, Hunt said, but it is not without hope. “Never question in the dark what you’ve learned in the light,” he added, quoting the popular 19th century Baptist preacher C.H. Spurgeon.
    “Questioning, but not without answers” and “trusting, but not without truth” are two other ways Hunt describes the psalmist in the passage. “Keep remembering,” he said, “God is faithful, and His word is faithful.”
    To view highlights from conference sermons, go to See more photos in the Biblical Recorder's photo gallery.

    Next year’s pastors’ conference president Cameron McGill extended a welcome to all veterans to attend the 2016 N.C. Pastors’ Conference Sunday evening session, where military service men and women will be honored.

    Chip Hannah was elected as vice-president and Dale Robertson, secretary-treasurer. Presidents are elected two years in advance. Timmy Blair Sr. will serve as the 2017 Pastors’ Conference president.

    11/2/2015 7:26:47 PM by Seth Brown, BR Content Editor | with 1 comments
    Filed under: BSC, Pastors' Conference, preaching

Daniel Lawrence Carriker III
Johnny Hunt will always be my favorite Pastor. He is great to listen to. Wish he could come and speak at First Baptist Church Matthews.
11/4/2015 1:34:16 PM

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