We are in the midst of a busy week as we prepare for next weekend's Soldiers Training for Service conference. This is an annual get together of students, graduates and friends of Grace School of the Bible. We've been doing this for over 25 years!
The purpose of the weekend is to give our students and grads the opportunity to spend some time together--and for me to be able to have some "in person" time with them. The studies are focused on ministry issues--this year I'll be updating a study I did in '97 about the cultural shift currently upon us (what we termed "winter" based on Gen. 8's information about the seasonal cycles of a nation)--along with preaching through some of Paul's ministry charges in I & II Timothy. It'll be a really busy weekend.
My vision for this meeting has always been to provide it as a "gift" to our men. They are on the front lines of the spiritual battle, whether they are working through their own personal edification process or already in "the work of the ministry," and the opportunity to "come apart and rest awhile" is a needed refreshment. We all need to be "recharged" occasionally!
We provide a room for the two nights and enough for them to eat so they don't starve--actually, the ladies of Shorewood go all out in this department! They are working all this week getting things ready. So the men (and now, ladies too) only have to "get here."
This is a special weekend for me, personally. Of all the many things I am privileged to do, none is more dear to me or important to what I am doing than training men for the ministry. I have been committed to doing the work of the ministry Paul's way. That is why I will always be committed to local-church-based-edification and training. Everything we do, from the literature, audio/video media, radio, television, conferences to GSB, is designed in such a way as to enhance local ministries.
So it is a blessing to my heart to see our own local church so willingly and thoroughly involved in helping make this weekend a reality. It is our gift to these soldiers who are on the front lines of carrying the message of grace into the market places of the world!
In the midst of all this, we are also having a funeral. One of the last of our "old timers" went to be with the Lord last Saturday. Bob and Marge Price have been a faithful part of our assembly since the 1930's. Bob is the last of our men who served on the church board with J. C. O'Hair. He was 91 when he moved to heaven and active almost till the end. In fact, we had a men's fellowship Saturday morning and our fellows were asking "Where's Bob?" He hardly missed! We got the call during our time together that he had graduated to glory--so he was enjoying an ever better fellowship time!!
The memorial service will be Wednesday. "If you have never been to a grace believer's funeral, you haven't lived!" was the comment of a gentleman who has only known the grace message for a short time, after attending a memorial service. They are times of great rejoicing! So we'll have a Graduation Service for Bob's promotion to glory on Wednesday. Then we'll have a Graduation Service for GSB students on Satuday. PTL!
By the way, the conference will be broadcast live at ShorewoodBibleChurch.org. We begin Friday about 7:00 p.m. Saturday will be from 8:30 a.m. thru 10:00 p.m. and Sunday at 9:00 & 10:30 a.m and 6:00 p.m. Ya'll come!