Sunday, May 27, 2007

Na Day One [EDITED]

EDIT: There was no wifi available at the convention center, so the "live-blogging" never materialized. For a full account of the conference, check out the New Attitude blog.

Here I am, writing from the backseat of a borrowed mini-van heading down the highway towards the Nettles home in Louisville, Kentucky. Day One of the 2007 Na conference is finished and we're tired from the activities of the day, excited about what's up ahead, and challenged and convicted by all we have heard this evening.

We began the day touring Southern Seminary with Dr. Tom Nettles.

I was impressed by all the history surrounding the seminary and enjoyed hearing Dr. Nettles talk about the past presidents, paintings from the book of Revelation on the walls, and historic artifacts in the Lottie Moon Heritage Room. We saw Lottie Moon's shoes and Spurgeon's Bible!

The Bible in the Heritage Room

Examining Spurgeon's Bible

We also saw a picture of Daniel's great great Grandfather, J. J. Stamps, who was a member of the first class to attend Southern Seminary.

Daniel and the picture

After visiting Southern, we headed over to the Convention center to check in to the conference. Once we got our nifty black boxes with wristbands and maps, we walked all over downtown Louisville in search of food and a good place to park the car. With both objectives met, we returned to the Convention center to wait for the first session to begin.

Daniel got a little tired of waiting :-)

The first session featured Pr. Josh Harris, who addressed the Na Conference's central theme for this year, "Humble Orthodoxy takes Discernment." He spoke primarily from Romans 12:1-2 , and outlined four things that Spiritual Discernment requires.

First, Discernment requires Resistance. We must not "be conformed to this world." This, of course, requires that we be aware of how the world is seeking to influence us and realizing that resistance of the world often means rejection by the world. This isn't easy - it takes work, and it isn't always "fun" either. However, in the end, it is always better.

Second, Discernment requires Renewal. We must choose to review and refresh the truth that we know. We can't simply hear it once and then think we've got it forever; everyday we need to remind ourselves of what we know is true.

Third, Discernment requires theologically informed Action. The only way to grow in discernment is to act on what you already know. Discernment is no good if it is not lived out, we must obey God's clear commands to us for discernment to grow. When we refuse to act on the truth we know, discernment dies and the issues that require discernment become more cloudy.

Finally, Discernment requires the Gospel. This is the most important thing, because the Gospel supports everything else Discernment requires. We are unable to be discerning unless we understand that everything depends on, not us, but on all that God, in Christ, has done for us. Discernment is only possible because of the Gospel. We can only resist the world because Christ did. We can only be renewed because Jesus has already given us life. We can only act because God first opened our eyes to see the Gospel truth.

Because we are completely dependent on God, there is no room for pride and arrogance in the action of Discernment. Rather, the use of Discernment is an opportunity to thank God for His mercy to us. Ultimately we are called to something greater than Discernment - we are called to give up everything, all of our lives, to God. Discernment is the fruit of that kind of surrender.

After the sermon and worship led by Bob Kauflin, we split up into community and family groups - but it's really too late at night for me to go into all that now. It will simply have to wait for tomorrow.

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Saturday, May 26, 2007

Safely in Louisville

This is Rebecca for the NA crew here in Louisville. Praise God, we made it all the way here safely!

We have all had an amazing time so far, even though the conference has not started yet. I sat next to a girl on the flight out of Fort Myers who turned out to be a neighbor of our church, (she lives only a few blocks east of our building) and whose family has been looking for a church home since moving down our way almost a year ago. We had a great time talking, swapped contact information, and I hope and pray to see more of her over the summer.

Our group survived the 5-hour layover in the Detroit airport (or should I say, the Detroit airport survived us!). And we managed to get all of us on the connecting flight to Louisville just before the doors on the plane closed.

Upon arriving in Kentucky, we somehow piled all seven of us, plus luggage and a driver, into a modified minivan with only 5 seats for the 5-minute shuttle ride to a nearby hotel. There we were met by some great new friends, Timmy Brister and his wife Dusti, who escorted us to Dr. Tom Nettles' house, where we were greeted warmly by pizza and a game of frisbee in the backyard. (We discovered that some of us were not called to play frisbee). :-)

Now, well past midnight, we are finally settling in here at the Nettles and getting ready for the conference tomorrow. No, we did not keep them up. On the contrary, Dr. and Mrs. Nettles were the ones who instigated a "talent show" after dinner that ranged from piano duets ("chopsticks") and cooking tips, to recitation of government facts (complete with an attempt to name all of the Supreme Court Justices), selections from "The Music Man", and a dramatic scene from Pilgrim's Progress. It was a wonderful time of fun and fellowship for all of us, culminating in group devotions led by Dr. Nettles before we all headed to bed.

One of the greatest things about flying is experiencing some of the grandeur of God's creation from a new perspective: 32,000 feet in the air. It gives an amazing feeling both of how awesome God is, and how small we are. More than once, from more than one member of our group, I heard phrases like "This is so awesome!" "My God made this!" and "Wow. I feel so tiny" as we flew over the numerous states between Florida and Michigan and back down to Kentucky. It was a much-needed "perspective glass" from God that has helped to set the tone for what we pray will be a wonderful conference over the next few days.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

New Attitude Conference--Live Guest Blogging

Seven outstanding young adults from Grace Baptist Church are enroute to Louisville, Kentucky for the New Attitude Conference. Among them are my children, Rebecca and Rachel. They and their traveling buddies, Ricky, Daniel, Darcie and Rachel H., have agreed to guest-blog the conference here as they have opportunity. The line-up looks great and the potential for thousands of young adults to be powerfully impacted by the Gospel is certainly worth praying over.

Check back over the next few days to see what "the kids" have to say.

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Rachel H, Rachel A, Darcie, Daniel, Rebecca, Ricky

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