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Glory and joy

January 2012 | by Roberta McCurrie

Glory and joy

‘God’s Glory, Our Joy’ conference was held at Emmaus Church Centre in Warrington, on loan to us from the Orford church. The facilities are superb and we have to say ‘thank you’ to the ladies from Chorlton Evangelical Church for looking after us throughout the day.
    This year the theme was ‘Building biblical churches for the 21st century’. The conference began on Friday afternoon with a seminar for church leaders, led by Andrew Swanson.
    Mr Swanson has been blessed with more than 40 years of service and all those who attended were greatly challenged and appreciated his honesty.
    The evening service, open to all believers, was addressed by Dr James Renihan, Professor of Historical Theology at the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, Escondido, California.
    This address was entitled ‘The church: a society of love’. He spoke from 1 Corinthians 13 and related this to the problems faced by the church in Corinth. The key to solving their problems was love.
    On the Saturday, we were challenged to change by a talk called ‘Building biblical churches in a fragmented society’. The speaker was John Hall of Grace Evangelical Church, Westerleigh.
    Dr Hall used Nehemiah 2 to remind believers that we must present the whole Word of God to new converts and do this by using lively preaching, not music or drama. He greatly encouraged us by reminding us we have a simple doctrine that fits into every society, because we have the Bible, are saved by grace and saved to serve.
    
Biblical churches

In the afternoon, he spoke on ‘Building biblical churches in an aging society’, again with great passion. He offered many practical tips to serve our increasingly aging society. He gave examples of how we need to recapture the respect and honour for the elderly that is clearly evident in the Scriptures.
    After morning coffee, Dr Renihan gave his second paper, ‘The church: a society of peace’, and we read Matthew 5:1-12, with the focus being on verse 9.
    Again, all of us were left with many questions. Are we passive or active peacemakers? How do we deal with people who irritate us? Do we seek to speak words of comfort to those in need?
    We need to make every effort to live in peace with fellow believers, since God has elected each one of us and we will spend eternity together. In the afternoon, Mr Swanson gave a full report on serving God for 25 years in the Middle East. Afterwards, he closed with the conference sermon.
    From Nehemiah 12:27-43, he reminded us that we should be dedicated, thankful followers of Christ and worship him in the way God has commanded.
    The teaching was excellent and we all went away challenged. The fellowship with other believers throughout the day was extremely refreshing and worthwhile. More details: www.ggoj.org.uk

Roberta McCurrie

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