Just back, (well, yesterday) from New Word Alive, the new UCCF/Keswick easter conference in Pwhelli, Wales. It was brilliant. And very challenging.
Don Carson took us though 1 John on the four mornings of the conference. It was challenging, convicting, convincing and encouraging all at once. I've never seen Carson preach in the flesh before and it was an honour to so do. Here is a man as gifted as a communicator as he is a scholar, which is priceless mix. It was stirring to hear how deeply connected knowing truth, loving God's people and a holy life are when it comes to assurance, great to be reminded that Christ has indeed come in the flesh and the wonderful implications of this, and challenging to be faced once again with the moral horror of committing sin as one of God's children. Many challenges from this now, not least how to avoid repeating what he said when i preach on the prologue on wednesday night.
Humanity the Crown of Creation
Mike Ovey, another communicative scholar, led this seminar. Over just three sessions he was clearly pushed for time, but we went on a whistle stop tour of what the Bible says of humanity and Jesus and us. This linked in so well with 1 John as we were again unable to escape how terrible sin is and how we have been marred by it. What a breath of fresh air though to see Jesus as the Psalm 8 man, Jesus, our substitute fulfilling what it means to be human, Jesus as the most human man who ever lived, never marred by sin.
Terry Virgo, two sessions from John Piper and Richard Cunningham took us through Romans 5, 8 and 12 in the evenings. It was the first time i'd heard John Piper in the flesh and its safe to say that as he spoke God moved. Terry remined us of the relationship between justifiaction and sanctification and the need for grace at all times on the first night, and this was such a great way to start off the week. Terry was a great choice for the first evening. Then Piper took us into Romans 8 for two evenings under the title 'Treasuring Christ and the Call to Suffer'. You can tell that this is a man who has spent years in Romans with his categories being redefined and his worldview being changed. They were hard, but glorious messages to hear. I want to be able to say with Paul that whatever we suffer now is not worth comparing to the glory, joy and pleasure that is to come, i want to be able to say with John Piper, 'go ahead death, make my day'. I want my sufferings to be a loud hailer to the world of the worth of Christ. Richard Cunningham finished us off on thursday evening exhorting us to live and breath as sacrifices to Christ. To not get excited while your at a conference and then forget about it, but to always be living in the light of the Gospel, and to use our gifts accordingly. Challenging stuff.
New Word Alive could turn out to be an historic moment in British Evangelicalism, it was a joy to be there.
Adrian Warnock's summary.
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