Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Holiness, Fellowship, Ice Cream, and "Our House"

October 26 - November 2, 2015 - It's time to hit the road, Jack!  
Join us as we head out to North Carolina with church friends for this year's NCFIC national conference.  
This post covers our time at conference and at the house we all stayed at during the trip.  Photos from our hike are in a previous post.

Unfortunately, most of the pics that I took with my phone were lost because of a faulty SD card.  I need to send my thanks to Ashley, Brittany, Hannah, and my Mom for sending me some supplementary photos.

On the road again!

I can see clearly now the rain is gone.
The drive through the Smoky Mountains is breathtaking at times!

This photo grossly misrepresents the reality that we were driving through pouring rain and cloudy skies for most of the trip.

Everyone but our family drove out to NC in a single day, 
but we spent a night in Nashville before driving the rest of the way.  

So, it took us -two days- to get the Highway of Holiness...what does that say about us? ;)

Top left - Our vehicles were loaded down.
Bottom left - A tire blow out!
Right - An accident near Nashville.

We made a stop for lunch and got some "fast fire'd" pizza at the Blaze.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house 

Instead of staying on-site at Ridgecrest this year, we all stayed in a -portion- of this house near the conference.  In previous years we usually cram ourselves into each other's units to hang out together, so this year's arrangement worked out nicely.



I wish that I'd captured the temporary chaos when everyone arrived and began unpacking in the middle of a rain storm.  But thanks to some good planning and smart packing, we were soon settled in.  Gotta love traveling with experienced "pros."

Sharing the first of many fantastic meals and fellowshipping around the dining table... 

...or at least near the dining table. 

Playing Rummy after dinner

Prepping for Taco Tuesday - on a Wednesday

Ashley. Adding the she always does. ;)

Heading to the conference!

This year's conference was on the 

Joel Beeke

Live streaming from the house

The sessions were livestreamed online and you can watch them here.
I've also culled some quotes below from the speakers at the conference - completely free of charge.

My favorite message was from the first night when Paul Washer spoke on 
"The Holiness of God: Christ in Glory."  

He opened with I Timothy 3:16-4:3 and had some great things to say:

The mystery to being totally devoted to God and pious?  
It’s the gospel of Jesus Christ.  
What is the thing that will make you pious? 
A greater comprehension of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The verses in  I Timothy 4:1-2 seem to lead to something that would be a really big deal.  But in v. 3 it talks about those who forbid some to marry and don’t eat food.

Paul is saying that anything in your life in your church, preaching, thought life, that takes preeminence over the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a doctrine of demons.

What about when teaching on marriage, modesty, homeschooling, family integration, etc - becomes the core of your life and of your church?
All of these things can quickly become "doctrines of demons" when they take precedence.  

How do we know if it has taken precedence?  
When we think of them and speak of them more than the gospel of Jesus. 

True holiness has a lot to do with the commands of God and His precepts and wisdom.  
The only way to be a holy people is to be a gospel people.

To walk in falsehood is easy.  To walk in the truth is like walking on the edge of a razor blade.
Antinomianism on one side.  Legalism on the other side is just as deadly.

The only way that I can make it through this course, is by keeping my eyes fixed on Christ.  
Every command, every precept given by the Scripture.

When I see Christ, I see a man who is determined on His mission, 
but also will pick up children or let a filthy prostitute touch him.

Holiness is manifested in a love towards God, but also in His love towards others.
The goal of all holiness is Christ, and Christ as He is so revealed in the Gospel.
- Paul Washer


(Isaiah 6)
During the course of your life there will be so many questions that we cannot answer.

If a trusted friend rushed into this building and asked for my keys, I’d pull them out of my pocket and toss them to him - without even asking why.  I don’t have to know why, because I know the man’s character.

In the same way,  I don’t have to know what God is always doing.
All I have to know is who God is.  
When I am loveless, I need a greater vision of God.  
For every malady I find a cure - 
a greater vision of Christ and God and the gospel of Christ.
- Paul Washer


We weren’t primarily created to be ministers, but to be worshippers.  
Great ministers are great worshippers.  
We are no good to anyone else until we are able to reflect the glory of God, 
and that’s only possible when we’ve spent time in His presence.
- Paul Washer


Holiness in and of itself isn’t about being sinless. 
To be holy is to see Him as completely set apart 
and attributing to Him the worth that He imposes upon Himself 
- and the ethics flow out of that.

If you don’t get that first, then that can lead to legalism.  
And if all you have is legalism, 
then you will not be able to gospelize people, 
you will only be able to legalize them.
- Paul Washer


We don’t need milk toast, cold, men.
Ask God that He would tame your heart, 
but not dry you of your passion.  
That, if anything, he would light your fire even brighter for Him.  
That he would bridle you.
- Paul Washer


As I partake in the common means of grace - studying His Word, going to Him in prayer, taking communion with Him and other believers - the light sheds itself on my sins.  

In His light, our flaws are revealed in order that they they may be perfected even more.  
I need not despair.  I just want to know and to see Him more.
- Paul Washer


How do you grow in holiness?  
By meeting with the Lord through prayer and through His Word.

"Holiness is the inward and outward adornment of the character of God."

We have a scheme for fixing our churches, family, and children.  The Jews and Greeks both had ways of fixing themselves, but they were both wrong.  Paul brought the simple truth of the Gospel, and it became a stumbling block.
Paul Washer came up here and preached that all you really need is the Gospel.  And while we won’t call it a stumbling block, deep down, we probably think that there’s some other element to it.  It may sound a bit like foolishness.
- John Snyder

There are two types of fear.  
Filial and servile fear.  
Some fear God because they fear punishment, 
while Christians fear God out of His awe and majesty, but fear out of a great love.

When an unconverted sinner gets caught sinning red handed, 
they treat God like a police officer.  
You calculate the consequences, how many points on your license, the amount of the fine.

The fear of God is seeing the smiles and frowns of God as being of greater importance than the smiles and frowns of other men.
- Joel Beeke


When we lose the conscience of the omnipresence of God - as an individual or a family - we are opening the floodgates to sin.  
We need to have a childlike understanding of God’s omnipotence - of never being alone - of being aware of His presence everywhere and all of the time.
- Joel Beeke


Holiness starts outside of your decisions.
It doesn’t start with Godly rules, or with your decisions.  
It doesn’t even start with your conversion in faith and repentance.

If your holiness doesn’t begin with this phrase, then it’s just a morality and can lead to legalism:
 “But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus…”  
God has placed everything that we need for salvation - apart from us.

Christ isn’t merely our justification.  He is our ever abiding cause of our being justified.  
He is our righteousness. 

If we are able to navigate culture and remain holy or to fix ourselves, then the cross was all in vain.  Not only could we not fix ourselves, but we weren’t able to get ourselves to the One who can fix us.

Holiness doesn’t start with me changing my views of the world or with salvation, but it started with God establishing Christ as our mediator.
- John Snyder

Morality looks like holiness from a distance.  
It's like artificial flowers that you put next to a gravesite.  
It looks like the real thing until you get close.
Upon closer inspection, it's actually lifeless and dead and cheap.
Holiness is alive and fragrant, 
whereas morality is just a plastic flower next to a grave.
- John Snyder

For clean living, 
Paul doesn’t tell them to put on the ten commandments, 
but to put on Christ.
- John Snyder

We are all weaklings.  
So, how is it that as homeschoolers that we’re going to "raise up the next generation of leaders."  Who told you that you could do that?
- John Snyder

Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption
Which of these three would you choose if we were only able to choose one?
We don’t pick and choose and we don’t settle for anything less.
- John Snyder


If we can get that it’s all because of the glory of Christ, 
then we can walk out of these doors greatly humbled.  
We’ll be quick to admit that we’ve blown it and to seek counsel and to be rebuked and to be glad to be able to reflect the beauty of God’s holiness and of His glory.

We can wake up grateful for the opportunity to wake up in the morning and to be glad to have the opportunity to reflect Him.  And to be corrected by Him and to try again the next morning.
- Carlton McLeod

Striving to obey God is an honor and a privilege.  
It’s not about searching through the Bible to see what I can get away with, 
but it’s about trying to find ways that we can show our love for Christ.
The inexpressible joy filled with glory should be the attitude of a holy people.
- Carlton McLeod


How you present yourself is a reflection on what the gospel has done on your heart. 
What outfit can you wear that would bring honor to God.  
What would put a smile on His face?
-Carlton McLeod


People that are apart from Christ are zombies - they are the walking dead.  
The pleasure and cravings of the world are fading and temporary.  
What the world finds desirous and valuable fade away like dreams.
Possessions goes.  Beauty goes.  Nothing lasts but the soul.  

The world is passing away, marching towards  the path of judgement.  
In light of this temporary world, John declares that “He that doeth the will of God abideth forever.” 
- Jeff Pollard


If you want to walk with Christ, 
you’re walking under the shadow of the cross. 
 It’s not a popularity contest.  
You’re following Christ, 
and that’s great company to have.
- Jeff Pollard


There are many reasons to pursue holiness, and some of them are good.  
However, if any of them supersede the person of Christ, then they are idolatry.  
We should always be lead back to “against you, and you alone, have I sinned.”
- Paul Washer


True holiness never puts an end to joy.
-Paul Washer


We’ve been strong on the importance of Jesus’ deity, 
but we can forget the importance of God’s man-ness.  
He overcame sin as a man.  
He didn’t get a free ticket because He was God, 
but he wrestled and struggled with sin and it never overcame Him.
- Paul Washer


John Snyder

What is the greatest sin?  Violating the greatest command.  
There has never been, in all the mass of humanity, one person who for even one fraction of a second loved the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind, and strength.  
Yet, this God-man, there was never a moment when He didn’t.

All of humanity cannot bear a fly’s weight of temptation.  
Christ bore the temptations of worlds, and still stood.
- Paul Washer

Paul. Bear. Gun.
-Paul Washer on his wife's reaction to finding a bear in their kitchen sink


There are no heros in the Christian faith.  
There is one champion, and that is Christ.
- Paul Washer


The moment you believed in Christ, 
He legally has declared you to be right with Him, 
but He also treats you as right with Him.

We often times forget the last part for some reason in our modern times.  
This was something that the ancients used to understand.
- Paul Washer


Whenever someone tells me that I'm blessed, 
I see, in the background, the cross.  

The only way that the one who was cursed can become blessed 
is if the one who was blessed be cursed.
- Paul Washer

 Does sin come to you in fuzzy colors?  No, it comes to me in crystal clear HD.  
I need a  clear vision of Christ 
- and not some fuzzy idea of His love -
to counteract sin. 
- John Snyder

This was my first time hearing John Snyder in person, and I really enjoyed his talk on 
"Lessons from the Past: The Dangers of a Wrong Pursuit of Holiness"

In America, we are a very gung ho culture that tends to do a lot of pendulum swinging.  
We’ll go in one direction, then learn something new and pendulum swing the other way and over react.

I don’t want to emphasize holiness to such a degree that 20 years from now a conference needs to be done correcting our mistakes.  

Our temptation would be to go home and get as far away as possible 
from a “casual” Christianity that we wouldn’t consider being holy.
- John Snyder


Do you like being good people or do you find yourself captivated with Christ?  
Morality is a form of holiness that’s basically about you.  
You just want to become a better version of yourself 
- and not necessarily like Christ.
- John Snyder


Don’t be an enthusiast - a spiritual fanatic.  
One who desires the end goal, but doesn’t choose the steps to get from here and there.
- John Snyder


Solitary meetings with the Lord with just the Scripture and meditating on it and laying your heart before the Lord, is much better for you than hearing good teachings and books.  
We bring our hearts more easily into teaching than in prayer, because there is more man in them than God.
- John Snyder

So many seeing the fall away rate thought that the cure was discipleship.  
But what if the material you’re working with isn’t saved?
- John Snyder


We are tempted to lower our expectations of what God would do in us.  

We can see God using other people, 
but we believe the lie that it’s because it’s them.  

We are tempted to think that this is a good stopping place.  
There are times when we see the sin in our lives 
and we just need to stop and ask the question, “Is God enough?”
- John Snyder


The cure to worldliness is showing them how good Christ is - not how evil the world is.  
There is an expulsive power in the new affection for Christ.
- John Snyder

The speaker's panel.  No discussion on rap this time. ;)

Catching up with the Smith family. 
Oh, and it looks like I'm also being used as a substitute rack for bags.

And what's a conference without some English Country Dancing?

We danced at last year's conference,
and the idea must've caught on, because we had another large group that formed this year.

And what's a dance without some post-dance visiting?

Time for some ice cream!

Having a round table discussion.  
No, Larissa and Danielle aren't actually sisters.

Bryce began to take off before we could get a photo.

Anyway...back to the house...

We had some intense 2 on 2 Wii tennis matches

Isn't it a lovely day to be caught in the rain?

Raindrops are falling on me head

Let's go for an old-fashioned walk
I'm just bursting with talk.

We walked to a nearby park

These two didn't know how to use swings

Can I get some applause for this dismount?

Granted, this was my second try.  
On the first attempt, my boot caught the ground and I did a few somersaults on the ground.
Nothing was injured but my pride. ;)

(Definitely reminds me of that time I accidentally 
cherry dropped on the hand rail outside the St Louis Art Museum. Ah, well...)

Smilin' in the rain.

Alright, let's come in out of the cold and return to the cozy 
confines of "our house."

Firewood stacked on the front porch

"Our House"
I'll light the fire, you place the flowers in the vase that you bought today.

Staring at the fire for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play your love songs all night long for me, only for me.

Come to me now and rest your head for just five minutes, everything is good.

Such a cozy room,
The windows are illuminated by the evening sunshine through them,
Fiery gems for you, only for you.

Our house is a very, very, very fine house with two cats in the yard,*
Life used to be so hard,
Now everything is easy 'cause of you and our—
La, la, la

*The names of the two outdoor cats were..Sam...and...ah...I can't remember her name.

Visiting with the Servens in the kitchen

Movie night!

Yes, after dancing, I came home and had more ice cream...with a brownie this time.

Hanging out and telling stories around the fireplace, 
oh and probably listening to love songs.

Actually, now that I think about it, 
I couldn't tell you how many times we played "Time to Say Goodbye."

Whew...such drama.  I think Sarah Brightman has spent too much time in theater...

Ah, yes...more ice cream.
We "needed" to finish it off in the final minutes before we headed back home.

Well, thanks for sticking with me for probably the longest post I've ever posted.  Give yourself a pat on the back - or better yet get yourself a bowl of ice cream!  
I am...