I recently got back from a three-week cross-country tour. While photography was on the agenda, the primary goal was to attend a pastor's conference I in California. I won't break down every single detail from that conference. For that matter I won't even delve into much of the trip at all in this post. I haven't had time to process everything. Needless to say, it was impactful.
So, what is the purpose of this post then? Honestly, I'm not sure! Maybe the idea of clarity. Ok I know, I'm not making sense. Let me use photography and try to bring this thing together.
To paraphrase iconic landscape photographer Ansel Adams, there's nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. It's easy to photograph something. It's another thing to have a solid concept. What are you trying to say? What is the idea behind the shot?
Well not to sound like way too many modern pastors, life can be like that. It's very easy to lose focus, or to be unsure of a direction to go. That's me a lot of times, and after this conference I can't say things have cleared up.
Where are things going in my life? Not sure I can answer that. This website for example, is it photography or ministry? Well hopefully it's obvious that it's intended to be both. But I admit I haven't exactly kept up with either!
But to bring some clarity to this post, I desire to have things in my life brought into a clearer focus, and maybe I'll talk about that more in the coming weeks, who knows... I won't make promises because I know my track record.
So, we've come this far and you're likely thinking "wow this guy hasn't come around to a point yet". You're right, and perhaps that is the point. Our lives, even believer's, can be very cloudy. What can we know for sure? I'm not going to attempt to answer that in it's entirety in this post, instead just focusing on one single thing.
For me one of the standout messages of the entire conference was given by a great speaker named Voddie Baucham.
In a time when truth is under attack, and people attempt to change the gospel or water it down, we can and should be sure of what the gospel really is. I'll share the passage that he exposited in his sermon:
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."" Romans 1:16-17 NASB
I know for myself I need to recognize the power of God in the gospel, not only to save others, but for my own life as a Christian. And I need to stand firm in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13) and share that gospel.
What is the gospel? In short, that man from Adam on is sinful and deserving of judgment from a holy and righteous God, the same God Who in His lovingkindness sent His Son Jesus Christ to be born of a virgin, to live a sinless and perfect life in perfect obedience to the Father, to die a substitutionary death in our place, taking our sins upon Himself, to be buried, and to be raised again on the third day, defeating death, then ascending to be at the right hand of the Father. Our sins placed upon Him at the cross, and His righteousness given to our account when we repent and place faith in Him.
So, in this time of cultural cloudiness, and my need of personal perspicuity, one thing we can be clear on is the gospel, which is the power of God to salvation!
Do you understand the gospel? Are you able to stand firm in the doctrines of the Christian faith? Take time in God's Word so you can better know the message of saving grace so you can be firm and bold in proclaiming the truth in love to a world in need!