It’s a preaching conference for preachers. But it’s not really a how-to conference so much as it an opportunity for us as preachers to sit back and hear someone else preach-to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ preached to us, rather than having to preach the sermon ourselves. It’s a chance to be re-filled and re-energized so that we can return to our pulpits and congregations with a renewed passion for proclaiming the gospel.
It's also a chance for us to slow down and find times to worship God; the organizers of the conference build in lots of opportunities for worship and each time I come to one of these, I come away wishing I could find ways to slow down and rest in God’s presence on a more daily basis. I come home wanting to be more connected to God because it was my love for God and my desire to share that love for God with others that got me into the preaching business in the first place.
But this conference always reminds me, it’s hard to be effective at what I have been called to do if I’m SO busy that I don't have time to be refreshed and renewed, refilled by the Holy Spirit’s presence.
And I imagine that the same might be true of you as well. Oh, maybe you haven’t been called to preach, but you have been called to teach and to care and to serve and to love as Christ loves us, wherever it is God has placed you. And the work you do is just as important as the work I do, and I imagine that sometimes you feel as if the well has run dry, just like I do. So, how do you refuel? Re-energize? Re-fill?
So, as I come back with a renewed commitment to carving out times and places and ways for me to reconnect with and be filled by God, I hope and pray that you might also find ways to do the same, whether it’s worship, reading the Bible or simply making time to sit quietly in God’s presence so that you too might be filled with passion for the work and ministry to which God has called you.
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted in water that sends out its root by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; it's leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8