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ReFRESH Conference Recap

The reality is that most of you do not know much about
Sherwood Church in Albany, GA. if you do, you know them from their movies: Facing the Giants and Fireproof.

What I wish you could know are the people I've been blessed to know over the last year. The people of Sherwood make up a powerful Christ-centered church.

This past week I went to Sherwood's "ReFRESH" conference. In a day when most conferences are about 'leadership' or 'church growth' or 'systems' it has become unique to have a conference focused on REVIVAL. A fresh touch of God.

The Team:
Ed Litton, Daniel Simmons, Tom Elliff, Bill Stafford, Ken Jenkins and the host, Pastor Michael Catt. (see also: Dr. Catt's Twitter)

The Messages:
The messages were powerful and there is absolutely no way I could reproduce the power of the Holy Spirit in the room during each presentation but there are a few nuggets I'll share in this post from just 3 sermons. To be honest, I have far too many notes to post here. I didn't tweet much because the preaching was so strong and my notebook was filling up far too quickly.

For a much better slice of the conference, I encourage you to watch last years sermons here. They will also be offering this years videos at some point.

Do Yourself a Favor this Spring:
I want to encourage you to consider going to ReFRESH in the spring. I'm planning to attend. If you are a Pastor who wants to calm down and hear from God, you must get there. Look, I'm a young guy with a new and vibrantly growing church. The readers of this site are like me. We keep up with all of the coolest and newest and the fastest... but we need to get back to God's heart. Pastors of my generation are missing out if they do not connect with those who are older, wiser and more focused on revival than we are. Our generation has proven how to begin well. Many of these men are walking examples of how to continue well over the long-haul and even how to finish well. Don't make the mistake of judging your health based on current results and strategies. God (and his principles) are timeless. We need some truths that are simply not 'cool' right now. Teaching on biblical revival and a personal walk with the Holy Spirit fall into that category.

This conference is so unique because it is laser focused on the revival of our own human hearts. Take a load off and plan to come to ReFRESH 'In the Smokies'

I'll give just a few quotes I noted from a few of the preachers. If the comment is not quoted then I'm just explaining my take on the quote.

Ken Jenkins: Phil 1:27
Mr. Jenkins is a world class photographer who as Dr. Catt put it "Exegetes nature" better than anyone alive. His message centered around the similarities of 'the song' found in every little bird and the song found in every human heart. It was a powerful message of hope, inspiration and yes, challenge.

"We don't trust in Christ so we can add the word 'Christian' to what we already are." Christ transforms us. Are we living out a transformed life? Our 'song' should reflect that new life.

"Our Conduct is our song." Just as a bird has a unique song, we either clang like symbols or our lives reflect harmony with our beliefs.

"We tend to repeat what sounds churchy to others instead of relying on Jesus for our life's song."

"Don't live your life repeating a memorized song you heard from someone else." Live out your unique song in harmony with Christ.

Tom Elliff: Ephesians 5:15
Dr. Tom Elliff is the Senior Pastor of FBC Del City, OK. He is also a former President of the SBC.

"Coming to church is not the test of our faith, it's what we do when we leave the church that is our test."

"The Southern Church has become quaint moralism" -- Let that sink in. When our faith is not much more than being 'nice' or 'moral', where is Jesus? Where is redemption? Where is reconciliation? Where is repentance? We must be more than just a moral group of people who act kindly to one another.

"Don't squander time."

"Every moment to the child of God is momentous." Our lives should be one divine moment after another. No part of time should be taken for granted if you are a child of God and believe God knows the number of your days and his power is available to every one of those moments. It is a powerful occasion to walk with God and doing so everyday deserves our complete awareness that in our lives is 'heaven meeting earth'.

1 Chronicles 22
"For every victory there is a price, for every triumph there is an opponent."

"If the church is going to reach people, it must be led by a Pastor who is reaching people. If the church is going to be spiritually healthy, it must be led by a leader who is spiritually healthy."
"When we pray, we often pray to God's hands. What God wants is for us to keep our focus on his eyes." (This reminded me of a very powerful passage in my life right now 2 Corinthians 5:17-21)

"Am I filled with the Holy Spirit?"

"Today a dirty word is 'submit'. "

Daniel Simmons: Psalm 51
Pastor Simmons is the Senior Pastor of Mt. Zion Church in Albany, GA. He and Dr. Catt formed a relationship in Albany which transcends race and lifts up the gospel. The deep south has a lot of racial division but a flood in 1994 brought these two men of God together to the point that they call one another the 'co-Pastor' of their respective churches. What a shining light to see.

Pastor Simmons is a powerful preacher. Last year I watched him preach Ezekial and the dry bones story like never before. It was indeed something to see. Go to http://albany.refreshconference.org/video/ and click on the 3rd picture from the right.

"If revival is to happen it must start in individuals first."

Psalm 51 is David asking:
1. Cleanse Me
2. Restore Me
3. Use Me

David displays genuine and heartfelt repentance for his sin.

David was walking around like most of us, not knowing he needed personal revival. He would walk past the temple and hear people singing HIS SONGS to God. Think about that. The power a person must feel when people are worshipping God through arrangements and words written by you. It must give a sense that you're closer to God than you may be.

David, like many of us needed someone to speak truth to Him in love to call him to personal revival.

2 Sam chps 11-12 Nathan confronts David

"We all have what David had. The ability to cover our sin."

"Ever since Adam and Eve we have been covering our sin and hiding."

"We cover up because we rely on 'the Gospel of Public Opinion." (If people 'think' we're walking with God we allow ourselves to be comfortable that people think that way instead of inspecting our own hearts)

"We cover up because of 'the Gospel of Private Opinion." (If I think I'm not as bad of a sinner as other people --I didn't kill anyone-- then we feel that we're doing just fine and don't need personal repentance and revival)

"In my private gospel, I tend to justify a lot. Do you?"

"Leaders of the church have become experts at cover-up."

"Sometimes people confusing God's anointing with God's approval." (This was an amazing point! God wants to do His will. At times he will do his will through a vessel that is living in sin. God's goal is to reach people and he will use people with poor motives to do it. DO NOT believe your success in using God's anointing is automatically tied to God's approval of your personal life. At times God uses you IN SPITE of your sin, not because of your purity. We must be certain to live in perpetual repentance and keep a pure heart before God or else we'll feel that his work through us indicates something about our heart that God is not trying to communicate at all.)

"I cannot cleanse myself of my sin."

"Acknowledge your own sin. The only cure is God Himself."

"If you can't acknowledge it, God can not heal it."

1. Acknoweldge the sin.
2. Acknowledge the consequence of your sin.
3. Surrender to the cleansing power of God.
- We need His blood. The blood of Jesus is the only thing to cleanse us from our sin.

"If you have me on a pedestal, I want you to take me down. I am a sinner. But I DO have a SAVIOR."

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Thursday, September 30, 2010


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