Friday, May 27, 2016

Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors Conference 2016

Last week along with over eleven hundred men we gathered for the annual Calvary Chapel East Coast Pastors Conference. Before the conference takes place we start praying six months in advance. The conference is held at the Sandy Cove Retreat Center in North East Maryland along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. Our meetings take place in an old gymnasium. It's like a family reunion that you look forward to. Every year I meet up with a handful of guys that I have been friends with for years. Men that I confide in, and trust with my life. Their friendship through the years has been invaluable to me. All of us schedule our flights to arrive  around the same time. We travel together, and room together. The fellowship we share is one of the best things about the conference.  We laugh, we pray, and share what the Lord is doing in our lives.  You also make many new friends as you meet pastors and leaders from around the country. The conference begins on a Monday afternoon and ends on Wednesday afternoon. During our times together we get to listen to amazing Bible teaching. In addition to the teaching we have times of anointed, spirit led worship. In worship there is one guitar two singers and an eleven hundred man choir. As we lift up our voices to the Lord you can sense the work of the Holy Spirit among us. To me, it's a foretaste of heaven. This year was powerful. I think most of us come to the conference desperate to hear from the Lord. We come with an expectation. United we come boldly and humbly before the throne of grace, and the Lord meets us powerfully. Here is a brief overview of what I received. 

Session 1 Jeremy Camp: Most people know Jeremy as a Christian Artist heard on radio stations around the country. Yet knowing Jeremy personally there is a whole lot more to that guy. He is a minister of the gospel. For Jeremy, it's not simply about performing concerts, its about reaching people with the life saving message of the gospel. He recently started a ministry called "Speaking Louder Than Words". They are reaching into some of the remote parts of the world. The ministry helps with practical needs, but most importantly the spiritual needs of the people. 

Session 2 Jim Cymbala: I love this guy. I have read several of his books and have listened to some of his sermons. Jim pastors the Brooklyn Tabernacle in New York. Jim emphasized the importance of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in our preaching. It is one thing to preach the word, but it is quite another to preach the word in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Session 3 Sandy Adams: Pastor Sandy is from Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain Georgia. Sandy shared one of the best messages I have ever heard on the life and ministry of Samson. He highlighted the anointing Samson had at the beginning of his ministry,  and the decline and removal from ministry due to his sin. Samson was a "he-man with a she-problem" and it cost him his life.

Session 4 Q&A: The Q&A was a time where leaders among the Calvary Chapels answered some important questions that have come up in recent days. Some of the issues they dealt with were "Women in Ministry, and Pastors and Alcohol." It was a blessing to be able to have insight and clarity on these subjects. I believe it also put all of us on the same page in relation to these things.

Session 5 Tony Clark: Tony is a personal friend and also a great pastor. He did an excellent job teaching out of Revelation 2 looking at the church in Ephesus. Drifting from our first love is a real danger. It's important to stay close to Jesus. Tony also exhorted us to stay away from anything that would take us away from close fellowship with the Lord.

Session 6 Louis Neely: Pastor Louis has been in ministry a long time. He has a wealth of knowledge. He encouraged all the pastors to continue to trust in God and live by faith. To get in the spiritual battle and take it to the enemy. (The worship time following Louis's study was off the chart powerful. The Lord met us that night in such a special way that words are inadequate to describe what took place.)

Session 6 Don McClure:  The work of the Holy Spirit is so essential to everything we do in ministry without it we are powerless. Don gave a good word on the importance of that truth. You left that study wanting more of what he described.

Session 7 Raul Ries: In so many places the church has been affected by the world. Many Christians are no longer walking in the fear of the Lord. They live as they have always lived. Raul took us to the book of 1 Thessalonians teaching about walking in the fear of the Lord. It was powerful and practical.

Ending: Me and my friends were able to go back and attend the evening service at Calvary Chapel Philadelphia where Raul Ries taught for Pastor Joe. The worship was amazing and the fellowship a blessing. We all flew out the next morning back to our churches to apply what we have learned.

If you missed this years conference you missed it... but GREAT NEWS, all of the sessions from the conference can be watched by downloading the CC Philly App.