I had the privilege of going to the Spiritual Leadership Conference in Lancaster, California this month. It was an opportunity to get away for a little bit to pray and seek direction from the Lord in moving forward. I first had to get over the fact that I was going out there without my wife! Though we have rarely been separated during our 28 years of being married, I really sensed that the Lord was leading me to get some time away and seek fresh perspective. He had opened an opportunity to go so I seized the moment. I am so glad I did! I got the opportunity to hear some great preaching and attend some great nuts-and-bolts seminars on various aspects of church ministry. I got to meet some great new friends from around the country, and even spent some time with my good friend, Pastor Tom Faulk, who pastors the First Baptist Church of Groton, Massachusetts, who had also gone out for the conference. I had the privilege of meeting and talking to some great men whom I admire, like Ron Hamilton, also know as Patch the PIrate, and David Gibbs of the Christian Law Association. I also got the chance to reconnect with pastors Paul Chappel and RB Oullette, who I met many years ago when they came to New England. I am appreciative of all that the staff and good church folks of Lancaster Baptist Church for all they did to make it a profitable conference!
Perhaps the greatest thing the Lord challenged me with at the conference was my need to walk by faith. I had been praying about the need to move our church forward and the need for a new building to meet in. There was building that the Lord kept bringing to my attention, but all I could seem to see were the reasons not to pursue it. I remember a time years ago when I was in the restaurant business. I had the opportunity to add pizza to the menu of a little sub shop that I owned. I would have to put in pizza ovens and other equipment to be able to do it. I kept putting off making the decision because I could only see the reasons why I shouldn’t do it. I had a friend from the business next door who gave me this challenge: “Stop telling me all the reasons why you can’t do it and start telling me how you can!” That was the turning point to moving forward. It changed my mindset and I began to figure out how pizza could be done. Eventually we got the equipment and moved forward. During this conference I was reminded of that time, and challenged to stop seeing all the reasons why this building would not work, and start getting a vision for how it would work. The need is for faith to follow the vision!