". . . There is nothing else." Steve Pettit, 3/9/06
The unifying theme in the sessions I've attended this week at the Wilds Youth Workers' Conference has been the transforming power of the glory of God as revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. Frank Hamrick and Steve Pettit (and I believe Les Ollila as well, although I omitted it from my notes) have parked on 2 Corinthians 3:18. Sam Horn's workshop today on "Preaching Ancient Truth to a Contemporary Audience" inclhttp://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gifuded a distinct emphasis on preaching for transformation, not conformity. Hamrick unpacked the same idea in both his workshop sessions.
Pettit's message yesterday from Hebrews 12:3-6 established the Christ-centered foundation ("Consider Him") for endurance in trials and in the struggle with sin. Tonight's message asked two questions: 1) What is the glory of God? and 2) How is it that this glory transforms us? His glory is His perfections on display—the sum total of His intrinsic nature. His perfections are put on display in His Word, the person of Jesus Christ (esp. John 1 and Matthew 17), and in the church (Ephesians 3). He said, "The work of the church is to put on display to the world who God is."
His answer to the second question began with a great explanation of the context in 2 Corinthians 3 of the distinctions between the old and new covenants with a particular awareness of the theme of glory traced through this text. The key is that the veil is now removed so that believers have direct access to the Lord through His Word. When you sit down to read your Bible, "[y]ou have in your lap the divine revelation. This is how He reveals Himself." There is no other way for us to change ourselves or for us to change our teenagers other than through the transformational work of the Spirit of God through His Word.
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And my optimism grows.