Resolved was awe-inspiring. Having gone last year, I expected much, and it delivered and then more. The preaching was stupendous (that's such a poor word for such a grand thing). It opened the eyes, exalted God, crushed the heart, transformed the person. After each message, I was left with the feeling that I was full. I was convicted of my sins and Christ was so big. It couldn't get much better. And the next message would shatter all those illusions that I had finally grasped God by convicting me anew, making God bigger, exalting Christ higher. If you would permit me to make a joke, I felt like I got saved like 9 times there.
12For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.The preachers thundered for 12 some hours, standing upon God's Word, preaching on justification (Romans 5), the supremacy of Christ (Hebrews 1), the foolishness of the cross (1 Cor. 1-2), the pharisee and the tax collector (Luke 18), the suffering servant (Isaiah 53), God is the Gospel (misc.), Humility (1 Cor. 4), and God and missions (misc.). The texts were all very familiar, but each time the preacher would go up there, I was left wondering if I had even read the texts before, it was so new and so convicting. I was convicted of sins upon sins, and encouraged to go to the Cross over and over again.
Steve Lawson in particular (if I have to pick a favorite, though they were all amazing) was compelling. Proclaiming the sovereignty and the supremacy of God, his talks were not only enlightening but convicting. They crushed the heart repeatedly and pointed me to my only hope in life, Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 3:18
18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.It felt like a taste of heaven, where Christ is worshiped in spirit and in truth, where our knowledge of Christ just got bigger and bigger with each passing day.
And the fellowship was so sweet. People talked about God hour after hour. At lunch, at dinner, on the car rides, walking around. It was something that I've tasted so infrequently I definitely got the "let's put up tents and worship" feeling. Sheer delight to worship with brothers and sisters who are all passionate and convicted for the cause of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. The sound of thousands of voices lifted up to exalt Jesus Christ was... priceless.
The music was great. We sang a lot of redone hymns, a lot of contemporary songs, and all of it was packed theologically. In particular, I greatly appreciated how many of the songs ended not just with the cross and what Jesus had done, but pointed us to that final day, when we will worship in glory. Such a good reminder, something I greatly treasured.
And finally, the people I came down with were a delight to be with. The car rides driving down to LA and back up were filled with thought-provoking and engaging conversation. Questions were asked and answers were offered. What an encouragement of faith!
Some random thoughts to wrap up:
1) The conference began and ended with a call to serve the local church, and I pray and hope that that's what I'll be able to do. It was a delight to hear these preachers who have had dozens of years of preaching under their belt, but it certainly is no burden to come back here to Stanford, where I do actually get solid biblical preaching every week. Praise the Lord for such a blessing!
2) Born out of the convictions of Resolved, me and a group of guys have started a group blog. Check it out: mochapress.blogspot.com Lord willing, we'll be able to encourage one another in the faith.
3) My desperate prayer is that I would not only be a hearer of the Word, but a doer as well. I would appreciate your prayers on my behalf in that regard. There is much that I have been convicted of and have needed to repent of, pray that it would not be looking in the mirror and forgetting.
4) The audio will be online free (soon I hope!). I'm also tempted to buy the audio from the first year. Next year will be June 13-16, 2008 in Palm Springs, which I think coincides with graduation. I'm glad I'm graduating this year so I don't have to make the difficult decision of choosing to walk or to go hear God proclaimed. The theme is "Heaven and Hell."
5) Check out Challies' reflections. I had the pleasure to meet him and say hello (but then I felt awkward so I rand off to play frisbee).
6) Somehow I managed to get into one of the photo galleries for resolved again. Check it out
I look really happy. I think I was trying to figure out if I wanted to do a weird face and then decided to smile and he caught me halfway through.