The conference is going alone well. It is touching to see folks from many different backgrounds so enthralled with the message of grace and an understanding of the rightly divided Word! As one of the teens told me at lunch, "this conference is smokin'!"
We had a special time this afternoon remembering our sister Vickie Lynn Matis. Vickie went to be with the Lord only a few days ago after a struggle with terminal cancer. She was young (56) and taken rather suddenly by cancer that was too far advanced when discovered to treat successfully--or even slow down.
But Vickie had a powerful testimony in life--and her "memorial barbecue" was no less powerful. She had asked that there be no sad time--"Have a barbecue!" had been her wish. So we did. Her family--mom, sister, brother and daughter gave touching testimonies of her faith and confidence in Christ. All who knew her knew the depth of both her understanding of the message of grace and her daily occupation with her Savior. We truly had a time of rejoicing for the life of Christ made manifest in a friend and fellow saint! John gave a clear gospel message and a strong appeal for the unsaved present to trust Christ.
I first met Vickie at this conference over a decade and a half ago. Through her I came to know her mom, brother and sister, husband and children. They have all been part of the "California family" that I have looked forward to seeing at these meetings. Seeing the sound doctrine living in this family during a time of deep sorrow and testing such as this is a benediction to the work of the ministry John and the saints of Berean Bible Ministries have so faithfully carried forward. Over and over Phil. 1:21 was quoted. Enough said!
Also attending this meeting is Barrry Curtis. Barry, you may recall, missed the Arizona conference last fall due to being hospitalized that weekend with newly discovered life threatening tumors in his intestines. Although at first thought to be inoperaterable, subsequent treatments and surgery have brought him to the verge of being declared completely free of danger!
He, and his young family, are thrilled with the situation, naturally. He boldly says, "If we hadn't known the grace message, we would have been basket cases during all this. Grace has given us hope and peace through it all. Knowing that God is for us no matter what has made all the difference."
This is all living fruit from the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery. When we simply rest our faith in an intelligent understanding of God's rightly divided Word we find the joy and peace Rom. 15:13 tells us can be ours. It is ministries like this one where saints are established in sound doctrine that make the difference in the shoe leather of life. I am humbled and grateful that this caliber of testimony exists through out our fellowship around the nation--and world!
Praise the Lord!