After spending our Saturday morning setting up the bookstore and using the afternoon to tie up some loose ends, we were ready for the first main session.
Our senior pastor Joshua Harris did a great job biblically defining the theme of this years conference: Humble Orthodoxy takes Discernment. Josh helped us to see that we can not grow to love truth without being able to discern the how it is different from the lies of the world. He also helped us to see that in and of ourselves we are not born with the ability to discern the difference God's good and the world's lies.
He gave us four requirements of discernment from God's Word:
1)Discernment Requires Resistance. We must resist thinking the way the world thinks. We are not to be conformed to the image of the world in which we live, in fact we should be expected to be rejected by the world. If our primary concern is what the world believes, our discernment will be centered in the world's values. The cost of breaking from the world's values is ridicule from it and all those who live in it.
2) Discernment Requires Renewal. We need to consistently choose to renew the truth in our hearts and minds. We continually lose the Gospel as our primary focus. We need to be reminded that the gospel is truth and I am no longer a slave to my flesh and sin. The bible is our creator speaking to us. We need to let its truth renew us everyday.
3)Discernment Requires Action. We can not discern God's will from a distance, we must act upon God's truth. In order for us to grow in discernment, we must apply God's Word to our lives. The best way to grow in this area right away, is to apply truth we already know. When we choose not to act in accordance to God's good will for us according to scripture, discernment dies.
4)Discernment Requires The Gospel. The work of the cross under girds everything about discernment. This is absolutely true and essential to understanding discernment. In view of God's mercy, we would not be able to have a relationship with God, let alone grow in discerning what is good from evil, truth from error, light from darkness. We would be totally lost and without hope.
whew... 1 session down, 7 to go!