Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Resolved - to go each year!

L to R: Rick Holland, Steve Lawson, John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney

Where's Waldo? Can you find Rich, Drew and Emma in this photo?

The four of us had the immense privilege of attending the 3rd annual Resolved Conference in Long Beach this past 3-day weekend. The theme of the conference was The Gospel and the messages were delivered by John MacArthur, C.J. Mahaney, Steve Lawson, John Piper and Rick Holland. What a lineup! On top of that, we were led in phenomenal worship times by the Resolved Band (a.k.a. Crossroads band from Grace). It was a wonderful weekend of soaking in truth and expressing thankfulness to God through the worshipful music.

The title of Resolved is based on the 70 Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards, the 3rd president of Princeton University and the man known as one of American’s greatest theologians ever. Edwards’ Resolutions , though written from 1722-1723, continue to deeply affect modern Christians. This is due largely to his commitment and high view of the Word of God. Here is one of the resolutions that I am choosing to meditate on:

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

This, combined with C.J. Mahaney’s teaching on Isaiah 53 and 1 Corinthians 4:6-13 had a profound effect on me. In Isaiah 53, we were reminded of the harsh reality that my sin is what put Jesus on the cross. MY SIN. God gave up His only Son to redeem ME. The way in which C.J. presented the message was life changing even to me who has been in Christ for 23 years! We need to stop and ponder this more often, to understand God’s great love for us. And, then in 1 Corinthians, Paul asks the church in Corinth “What do you have that you did not receive?” From this, C.J. presented us with the overwhelming reminder of God’s grace. He pointed out that we would all be great sinners had it not been for God’s grace on us. C.J. quoted Gordon Fee: "This is an invitation to experience one of those rare, unguarded moments of total honesty, where in the presence of the eternal God one recognizes that everything--absolutely everything--that one 'has' is a gift." Essentially, nothing we have is not a gift from God, which is an expression of God’s amazing grace towards us. What a marvelous thought and heart lifter!

This reality struck me as we were walking on the street during one of the break times. There happened to be some kind of Bob Marley festival/concert at the center next to Resolved. I observed the attendees for that event (just look for the dredlocks), in contrast to the people going to the Resolved conference. Here I was, an attendee of Resolved, sitting under the teaching of God’s word, while the others were worshipping some false religion and movement. It was one of those moments when you wonder why God chose you – and not them – to be the recipients of His undeserved grace and favor. I am no different than them at the very core – an undeserving sinner. Truly humbling. Truly blessed.

I am truly thankful for the opportunity we had to go to Resolved. I am especially thankful that Drew and Emma could experience such excellence in music and preaching. We will be forever changed by what we experienced. We are definitely RESOLVED to go next year!

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