Felistas and I have now been in the USA for one week and have begun to count down towards the day of our return to Zambia. The main purpose of our visit was to attend the True Church Conference at the Grace Life Church of the Shoals, where I was preaching and also presenting a brief report on the work of missions associated with our church back home. It has been an exhilarating experience. Let me share with you some snippets from our experience of the conference.
Prior to the conference, I spent my mornings on Monday 16th to Wednesday 18th teaching the few HeartCry missionaries who were able to obtain visas to come to the conference. Though few, these were truly precious moments with very precious people who are paying a dear price taking the true gospel to their own people. These men came from Eastern Europe, Asia, and the Middle East—places where churches are few and far between, and where a profession of Christianity is often the same as signing your own death warrant. What I found most refreshing was that their concern went far beyond just wanting to multiply churches. They wanted to see truly biblical churches planted wherever they were laboring. Hence, the question and answer sessions were the most heart-warming because during these times I could hear their chief concerns coming through the questions that they were asking.
The True Church Conference started on Thursday 19th and ended on Sunday 22nd. It was on the general theme of “The Wonderful Grace of Repentance”. In one jump, we went from being with less than 20 men to being with over 1,500 men and women in joyful assembly—and I really mean “joyful assembly”. The worship experience alone is worth the price of the air-ticket across the Atlantic! It was largely the same old hymns containing the ancient truths of the gospel but as Thomas Clay led the great congregation in worship, you just knew that you were in the presence of the living God and worship was drawn out of your heart.
Of course, the highlight of the conference was the preaching of God’s Word. Jeff Noblit, Paul Washer and Voddie Baucham were among the preachers who graced the pulpit of the conference. Since they have preached before in Zambia, these men need no introduction to my Zambian readers. I had the privilege of opening the conference and laid the foundation for the other preachers by dealing with “The Radical Depravity of Man”. The other two preachers who are unknown to Zambian Christians were Jonathan Sims and David Miller. Jonathan is an expositor par excellence! I had a chat with him afterwards about a possible visit to Zambia in August 2010. Let us pray that this works out.
Well, believe me, the experience of listening to this servant of God is worth the price of two air-tickets!
I need to say something about David Miller’s preaching. It is indescribable! I have never heard anything like it. This man suffered from a disease that left him totally incapacitated and so he preaches from a wheelchair, without a Bible and notes. And yet, he cites whole chapters of the Bible word-for-word, and expounds a section of it with very clear points and sub-points, with doctrinal accuracy, and with pungency and humour. Did I say that the worship experience at the True Church Conference was worth the price of an air-ticket across the Atlantic? Well, believe me, the experience of listening to this servant of God is worth the price of two air-tickets!
This visit to the USA has once again shown me the importance of the internet. Last Sunday, I preached at Grace Life Church of the Shoals on Psalm 2 in the morning service and on the Lord’s genealogy as recorded by Matthew in the evening service. During the conference, a number of people came to tell me how blessed they were as they listened to the sermon on the internet. Incredible! A number of people also came to me during the conference to express their gratitude for the Kabwata Baptist Church sermons on the internet. “Don’t you have any more sermons?” “Where else on the internet can your sermons be found?” “Why do you take so long to upload new sermons on your website?” These were the kind of questions I had to answer. Needless to say, I had no satisfactory answers to give them. If only they knew we were a Third World church…