Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Call for Discernment

 Anthony & I traveled to Tulsa, OK last weekend in order to attend the A Call for Discernment conference organized by Grace Family Bible Church of Tulsa. The drive to Tulsa was very nice & we are now a little more willing to going up there for weekend trips more often.

A couple of months ago, I was reading a blog I follow & I saw a link on the side of his blog advertising the conference. I clicked on the link & saw that a guy (Justin Peters) I had heard on Brannon Howse's Worldview Weekend radio show & a guy (Frank Turk) I had just recently been reading his blogs & following him on Twitter would be there. I also noticed that one of the pastors from Voddie Baucham's church (Grace Family Baptist Church) would also be speaking. After realizing this would be a free conference, I decided to send the link to Anthony & see if he was interested. After mulling it over, we decided to go ahead & if it turned out to be a dud, we would just leave & go see what Tulsa had to offer.

I have been to many conferences. Emotional manipulating roller coasters of youth conferences; watered-down sales-pitches women's conferences; and one really good prophecy conference. I really didn't know what to expect. The first thing we were surprised about was the amount of people. 900 people had registered but we are guessing about 700-800 showed up. The place was packed. It is always nice to realize you aren't alone in what you believe & observe in the world. We were also surprised at how many Mennonites were present. I don't know why, but I have such a love for Mennonite people. I don't completely agree 100% with them on how they interpret the Scripture (obviously) but there is something about how seriously they take living for God that makes me want to run up & hug them. (At this point, my husband will look at me smiling & say, "You're so silly." hehehe)

Justin Peters was the main speaker & why the conference was called "A Call for Discernment." He has produced a DVD with the presentation of the same name (that we purchased). Mr. Peters was born with cerebal palsy that mainly just affects his walking. Growing up, he was taken to many "faith healers" for a "miraculous healing." Clearly, his body has not been healed. He was told it was because of his lack of faith. However, God used these horrible experiences to inspire him to form a ministry warning others of the unBiblical teachings these people try to sale. Some of the people he points out are: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Paul & Jan Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and several others. You can pretty much bet, if they are promoted by TBN or GOD TV, they would make the list of those to stay away from. Mr. Peters has a very well done presentation backed up by lots of Scripture &, when he names names, he uses actual video clip so the viewer can see these people as they speak the words & can see their facial expressions & hear their inflections. 

Justin Peters admits that taking up discernment will win you few friends & many enemies. Mr. Peters' Facebook site has even been removed by Facebook & when I tried to post a link to his website on Facebook, I got an error stating it was a spammy or unsafe website. I wonder who didn't like what he said. O.o

In between Justin Peters' presentations, we also heard from several others including: Toby Harmon of The Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma (an anti-abortion group), Jack Rawlins of Voice of the Martyrs, Paul Washer of HeartCry Missionary Society, Frank Turk of Pyromaniacs, Stephen Bratton of Grace Family Baptist Church.

Despite my high regard for Justin Peters & loving every minute of his presentation, the highlight of the day, for me, was hearing Paul Washer preach. I had never heard of Mr. Washer before Saturday. I will now list him as my favorite preacher. Sorry, John MacArthur, I still love your preaching. 

Mr. Washer preached for almost 3 hrs. As much as I was dying to stand up & stretch & go have lunch, I didn't want him to stop. It was like listening to one of the old Puritan preachers. He is soft spoken but does not mince words. He is so sincere & so in love with our Savior. I have seen several preachers get choked up in a sermon or tear up a bit, but this man sobbed & it wasn't to make a point or garner sympathy. He is truly grieved by what is going on in the Church & that so few Christians truly understand what Christ has done for us. (On a side note, none of us will ever fully understand what Christ has done this side of Heaven, however, that shouldn't stop us from striving to understand & worship Him properly.) If you are interested in hearing some of Paul Washer's sermons, some of them are posted here on Sermon Audio.

We left for lunch convicted & sore from him stepping on our emotional toes but with an intensified desire to learn more about Christ & more serious in our intent to worship him. On our way back, I was able to "snap" a pic of this awesome police vehicle. Love it.

Trisha Ramos of Fish With Trish was also manning her table. Some of you may know her from her occasionally teaming up with Todd Friel of Wretched Radio and Ray Comfort of Living Waters/Way of the Master. I knew she was from the DFW area but during the last portion of the night, they talked about her husband, Emilio Ramos, & her had just recently started a new church in the north Dallas area. Anthony thought it might be the same church some friends of his had moved to & wanted to ask her. We got to talking to her (it wasn't the same church) & she ended up inviting us to their church, Heritage Grace Community Church. They have only been going for about 8 weeks & only have about 50 people so far. They are currently meeting in another church so their services really don't get started till about 2pm (she assured us this was the only seeker-friendly aspect of their church...hahaha). 

This quote from C.S. Lewis sums up nicely the conference & our feeling regarding finding the right church:
"Spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food & it will gobble poison." -- C.S. Lewis
In addition, here is a picture of the view from our hotel room. If they could guarantee that all their hotels were as nice & inexpensive as this particular Holiday Inn, we would join their membership club without hesitation. Over all, it was a GREAT weekend.


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