Monday, June 8, 2015

The Men for God Conference

I was in Langley, a few kilometres from Vancouver, in British Columbia, Canada, where I was preaching at the Men for God Conference from Friday 5th to Saturday 6th June, 2015. The other speakers were Doug Nichols, Tim Challies, and Fletcher Matandika (the host). We were all from different countries—USA, Canada, Malawi, and Zambia. That is how the gospel unites humanity!

Speakers: Fletcher Matandika, Tim Challies, Doug Nichols, and "yours truly"
The Men for God Conference took place at Langley Free Reformed Church and was officially hosted by Joy to the World Ministries. We had over 120 men in attendance largely from Canada but with a few coming from as far as the USA. I appreciated the age range, from young adults to the grey haired (and bold heads). The fellowship was invigorating and the singing was heavenly.

My report is not chronological but summarises what each speaker dealt with and some of the ways the teaching impacted my life.

Doug Nichols teaching on the "Garments for the man of God"
Doug Nichols’ first topic was “Garments for the man of God.” He read from Colossians 3:1-14. The passage deals with our position in Christ and goes on to say that there are five things we must put on—a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, patience, forgiveness, and love. He opened up each one of these. His final message was “Christ in You, the Hope of Glory” from Colossians 1:27-29. He spoke about four things—our message, our method, our motive, and our means. It was vintage Doug Nichols with his personal anecdotes. He shared hair-raising stories from his life and ministry in the Philippines. You cannot doze!

Tim Challies speaking on the subject of Pornography
I missed the first the first two sessions on the second day (Saturday 6th) in which Tim Challis and Fletcher Matandika were speaking because I was finishing off work on my own messages. I was able to join the third session where Tim Challies was speaking on “From Bondage to Freedom”, which was an excellent message on pornography. He used a wonderful PowerPoint presentation. He spoke on why Christianity hates pornography and then walked us through three steps to freedom from pornography. The logic was both devastating and liberating! I realised that I need to deal with this topic in my own church.

Fletcher was the human means God used to bring this conference together
I also attended a breakout session by Tim Challies on having “A Porn-Free Family”. He stated that most kids end up watching pornography for the first time by sheer coincidence—they do not go looking for it. He still warned about the need to know that our kids are fallen creatures and will use good technology for fallen reasons. He spoke of the need to talk with our kids about this reality, its damaging effects, and our concern to protect them. I was amazed how much needs to be done to protect the family from the pornography on the Internet.

"Yours truly" expounding Ezekiel 22:30
I preached three sermons from Ezekiel 22:30, which says, “And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none.” My messages were entitled, (1) God’s persistent search for men, (2) God’s gracious purpose for men, and (3) God’s grim displeasure with men. I trust that the Lord enabled me to articulate these points to the edification of the men who attended the conference.

The Q&A session at the end of the conference
The conference ended with a Question & Answer session. It was evident from the questions being asked that the men were challenged about their walk with God and were looking for practical ways they could deal with some of the failures, struggles and weaknesses. The speakers did their best to answer the question as they came. Ultimately, the men will need to go back home, lock themselves up with God, and cry to him to make them "men for God". Amen! What shall we say to all this?


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