James MacDonald, Senior Pastor: Harvest Bible Chapel, Chicago, Illinois
The Church in America is in trouble. Six thousand close their doors each year in the United States of America. Only one tenth of pastors are finishing in the ministry. The presence of God is often no longer in the church. A time to leave the church is when God leaves.
A church is not a place to make pagans feel more comfortable in.
Pastor MacDonald spoke at length on Exodus 32-33 and Moses and Aaron.
- The church in America, symbolized through Aaron, is choking on what they think is better than God.
- God’s manifest presence is forfeited through stubbornness.
- Exodus 33:16 “For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated. I and thy people that are upon the face of the earth.” (KJV)
Francis Chan, Author/Former Teaching Pastor Of Cornerstone Community Church, Simi Valley, California
Movements start when the founder knows God. Movements die when people follow the founder. Isaiah 30:1 “Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin…….” (KJV) We need to get alone with God. Chan shared that he struggles with insecurities……..sometimes he doubts God’s love for him. [A rare quality for a “big name” speaker to be so candid and transparent. It was refreshing]. Mark 14:34; Isaiah 53:10 and the suffering Jesus of Calvary was a theme that Chan touched on at length. “It is all about Jesus.” [Chan said this and then it struck me that this is the motto at Trinity Baptist Church]. Are you resting in the cross? Do you know Him? Are you secure in the cross?
Chan’s heart was stirred as he went deeper into his message and he shared that he was troubled by the spirit of Southern Baptists. Something was missing and he could not put his finger on it. He said he could see something wrong in our eyes. Everyone took him seriously and we got down on our knees and Chan led us in prayer. Chan’s troubled heart reminded me of Jesus in the garden which he spoke about previously. This was the close of the pastor’s conference and it gave us a lot to meditate and pray about.