Sunday, May 27, 2007

Na Day One [EDITED]

EDIT: There was no wifi available at the convention center, so the "live-blogging" never materialized. For a full account of the conference, check out the New Attitude blog.

Here I am, writing from the backseat of a borrowed mini-van heading down the highway towards the Nettles home in Louisville, Kentucky. Day One of the 2007 Na conference is finished and we're tired from the activities of the day, excited about what's up ahead, and challenged and convicted by all we have heard this evening.

We began the day touring Southern Seminary with Dr. Tom Nettles.

I was impressed by all the history surrounding the seminary and enjoyed hearing Dr. Nettles talk about the past presidents, paintings from the book of Revelation on the walls, and historic artifacts in the Lottie Moon Heritage Room. We saw Lottie Moon's shoes and Spurgeon's Bible!

The Bible in the Heritage Room

Examining Spurgeon's Bible

We also saw a picture of Daniel's great great Grandfather, J. J. Stamps, who was a member of the first class to attend Southern Seminary.

Daniel and the picture

After visiting Southern, we headed over to the Convention center to check in to the conference. Once we got our nifty black boxes with wristbands and maps, we walked all over downtown Louisville in search of food and a good place to park the car. With both objectives met, we returned to the Convention center to wait for the first session to begin.

Daniel got a little tired of waiting :-)

The first session featured Pr. Josh Harris, who addressed the Na Conference's central theme for this year, "Humble Orthodoxy takes Discernment." He spoke primarily from Romans 12:1-2 , and outlined four things that Spiritual Discernment requires.

First, Discernment requires Resistance. We must not "be conformed to this world." This, of course, requires that we be aware of how the world is seeking to influence us and realizing that resistance of the world often means rejection by the world. This isn't easy - it takes work, and it isn't always "fun" either. However, in the end, it is always better.

Second, Discernment requires Renewal. We must choose to review and refresh the truth that we know. We can't simply hear it once and then think we've got it forever; everyday we need to remind ourselves of what we know is true.

Third, Discernment requires theologically informed Action. The only way to grow in discernment is to act on what you already know. Discernment is no good if it is not lived out, we must obey God's clear commands to us for discernment to grow. When we refuse to act on the truth we know, discernment dies and the issues that require discernment become more cloudy.

Finally, Discernment requires the Gospel. This is the most important thing, because the Gospel supports everything else Discernment requires. We are unable to be discerning unless we understand that everything depends on, not us, but on all that God, in Christ, has done for us. Discernment is only possible because of the Gospel. We can only resist the world because Christ did. We can only be renewed because Jesus has already given us life. We can only act because God first opened our eyes to see the Gospel truth.

Because we are completely dependent on God, there is no room for pride and arrogance in the action of Discernment. Rather, the use of Discernment is an opportunity to thank God for His mercy to us. Ultimately we are called to something greater than Discernment - we are called to give up everything, all of our lives, to God. Discernment is the fruit of that kind of surrender.

After the sermon and worship led by Bob Kauflin, we split up into community and family groups - but it's really too late at night for me to go into all that now. It will simply have to wait for tomorrow.


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