4 Reasons The Gathering Conference Has Me Rejoicing

The Gathering Conference

It’s difficult to explain how wonderful The Gathering Conference was this past Saturday. I’m going to give it a quick attempt, knowing that I won’t do it justice. If you did attend, I hope these few observations encourage you and help to memorialize the great things God accomplished in your heart at the conference. If you could not make it, then I pray that you’ll be encouraged and strengthened by these few reflections offered here.

1. The Sinless Savior Died and Rose Again

The greatest reason to sing and rejoice is the glorious gospel of God’s grace. The controlling aim of The Gathering Conference was to renew our pleasure in the good news of all that Christ has done for us.  This was accomplished in the singing, teaching, seminars, and fellowship. The Gathering Conference has me rejoicing because my heart cried out, over and over again, with hundreds of other saints: “Hallelujah, all I have is Christ!”

2. God is at Work in Southern CA

The conference actually sold out the week leading up to it. This was a surprise since it was hosted by a church made up of just under 100 people. The place was packed! Around 575 people, representing over 80 local churches attended. These people were hungry to hear Bob Kauflin explain how the gospel shapes our meetings and to engage in corporate worship with hundreds of other Southern Californians who see the gospel as the centerpiece of their entire existence. We must take a moment to recognize this as a mighty work that God is doing in our hearts. The Lord is here, moving in such a way that many are compelled to see and savor Jesus Christ. What cause for celebration!

3. Singing Together is Better than Singing Alone

The Gathering WorshipIf you read this post by Bob Kauflin, you’ll see him make reference to the importance of tuning our attention to others as we worship. He goes so far as to instruct us to look around at others while we’re singing. I put this to practice while at the conference and found it to be incredibly edifying! Seeing others transfixed with the Savior made me desire to offer praise to Him even more.

4. There is More Yet to Come

One of the NT passages that we lean on to encourage one another for corporate gatherings is Hebrews 10:24-25. “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” The Gathering Conference was an expression of this encouragement from Hebrews. As great as the conference was, we are convinced that God still has many great things in store for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:9). And we pray that He brings those things to pass in His sovereign, perfect timing.

*If you would like to see the full photo gallery please click here.

When Good Isn’t Good Enough

I would heartily commend to you this post by Collin Hansen over at TGC. It is a stirring reflection on how our culture has viewed Joe Paterno in light of the child molestation scandal involving Jerry Sandusky. I urge you to examine your own soul as Collin urges you at the end. I would also love for you to head back here and offer feedback and reflection on the article once you’ve read it.

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/01/24/when-good-isnt-good-enough/

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

The Forgetful God – TG4OC

In case you hadn’t seen it, The Gospel for OC has published another of my articles. It’s actually a re-working from one I’d written a while back, but I hope you find joy and encouragement in the God I’m writing about and who I treasure. A God who “will not remember your sins.” O Hallelujah, there is mercy for us! Here’s the link:

http://thegospelforoc.com/2012/01/the-forgetful-god/

For His glory and fame,
Dustin

Homosexual Adoption: Thoughts from a Morally Conservative Christian

In the world of foster care and adoption, the participation of homosexual couples is a hot topic. There’s a heart-warming article on the Huffington Post’s website about a 15-year old boy who went through 12 different foster homes before finally being adopted by two gay men. If you’re a Christian who reads that article and it makes you sick, please allow me to issue a challenge. Here’s 3 reasons why you, as a fellow morally conservative Christian, should celebrate homosexuals adopting children from foster care.

1. It’s better for children to be in a loving homosexual family than an abusive heterosexual one.

This is self-explanatory. If you have to choose between these two “evils”, which one do you choose? The answer is simple: the loving, homosexual family. If you would choose the abusive one, there’s something wrong with you.

2. It’s better for children to be in a permanent homosexual family than to be bounced around from home to home in foster care.

The lack of stability that characterizes a child’s life in foster care is the decisive factor which dictates their ability to become a functioning member of society. Imagine trying to keep up with your school work when you regularly switch schools in the middle of the academic year. Impossible for a 3rd grader. Yet it happens all the time. When these kids graduate from high school and are expected to make it on their own, they have a remedial education, no job skills, and no support system. Having a family, even a homosexual one, completely changes that, enabling the child to develop into a participating member of our society. This is cause to celebrate.

3. Like all of humanity, homosexuals bear the marred image of God and their care for children still reflects God’s glory in a limited way.

Hopefully that heading makes your head explode with all kinds of questions regarding my theology of sin. I don’t have the time to line that out in a very detailed way but let me give you the skinny. Even though all humans are stained with sin, there is a sense in which all are still image-bearers of God. It is not a perfect expression by any means, but it is an expression nonetheless. Whenever a human being shows charity and concern they are reflecting the likeness of God. God declares Himself to be the champion of widows, orphans, the poor, the afflicted, and the oppressed (Judg. 2:18, Ps. 9:9, Ps. 68:4-6, Ps. 103:6, Mt. 4:24, Jam. 1:27). When a person acts in like manner, by God’s common grace, they are witnessing to the reality and nature of God even if they are completely unaware of Him. As a result, we should all celebrate when we see God’s grace at work in both the regenerate and the unregenerate.

Clarifying Remarks

Before you come at me with a knife, please understand what I’m NOT saying. I am not advocating for the pro-homosexual political agenda. I have concerns about the promotion of homosexuality in our society that are predicated on my belief in God’s existence and His intentions for human sexuality. What I AM saying is that since our culture has become more secularized and embraced things like homosexuality, we are not precluded from celebrating the good things that secular people do. We do not have to agree with them about sexual mores, but we must agree that it is good for abused and neglected children to have loving, stable homes. About that, we can all celebrate.

Singing to Each Other

There’s a guest post by Bob Kauflin that I helped edit and adapt over at The Gospel for OC. It contains some very helpful thoughts on how singing in worship can not only be toward God, but one another as well. It is also an encouragement to join us at The Gathering Conference in Huntington Beach on January 28th! Bob will be there along with Enfield to instruct us and to lead us in singing the songs off of Sovereign Grace Music‘s latest album, The Gathering. You can check out one of my favorite songs from this album, a revision of a hymn written by Augustus Toplady in 1772, below. I hope to see you there!

Now Why This Fear from Sovereign Grace Ministries on Vimeo.

Feasting for the Fame of Christ

Recently I met with Chris Poblete from The Gospel for OC, a ministry that “exists to spread the glorious news of Jesus Christ-His death and resurrection-throughout Orange County, California, and beyond.” One of the main expressions of their ministry is a blog and Chris asked that I begin to contribute a couple articles each month. I was excited to do so and today my first post has been published! It’s entitled Feasting for the Fame of Christ and it is my meditation on how feasting can draw our minds and affections toward the Savior. I hope you will read it and be blessed by God as you consider Christ in your abundance of food this Christmas!

http://thegospelforoc.com/2011/12/feasting-for-the-fame-of-christ/

The Children in the Road

Last Sunday, Dec. 4th, I was privileged to preach at Cornerstone Fellowship Bible Church in Riverside, CA. This church was incredibly gracious, kind, receptive and encouraging! It built me up and convicted me to see their hearts to serve.

If you’d like to have a listen, you can access the audio for this message on their website by clicking here or you can listen to it on this post where I’ve embedded it below. If, after listening, you feel the desire to serve children in foster care please let me know! I’d love to connect you with opportunities so that you could be a blessing to these kids and they could be a blessing to you. Also, if you would be interested in having me come to share this message or a similar one at your church please don’t hesitate to ask. Blessings in the Savior!

The Children in the Road