Reformation Heritage Conference in Signal Mountain, Tennessee

The Queen and I are on our way home from a good 2-day conference on Calvin for about 200 folks put on by the Wayside Presbyterian Church, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, pastored by Brian Cosby and Chuck (Charley) Barrett. After enjoying a delicious dinner in the beautiful home of Ken and Meg Herman late yesterday afternoon, I gave the conference’s first address last night on Calvin’s life and legacy, which was followed by a Q&A session with three of the other main speakers, Dr. Michael Barrett (father of one of the pastors and OT professor at Puritan Reformed Seminary), Rev. Jason Helopolous (pastor of the University Reformed Church of Lansing), and Dr. Brian Cosby (photo 1, with speakers, pastors of the local church, and some spouses; photo #2, Q&A).

This morning Pastor Helopulous delivered two insightful and helpful addresses—one on the importance of involving children in church worship and family worship and the other on Calvin’s Company of Pastors and the importance of having close friendships—especially for ministers. I spoke on Calvin on God’s sovereignty, election, and reprobation. We then had to head for home so that I can preach tomorrow in Grand Rapids. Additional addresses yet to be given will examine Calvin’s view on the Lord’s Supper, on piety, and on union with Christ. Please pray for God’s blessing on this conference and on this growing church which owns and worships in a beautiful building (photo 3) and hopes to put on a large addition in the near future.

We had an interesting experience this morning as we came down for breakfast in our hotel. Two men stepped onto our elevator, with the one in the center of photo 4, greeting us warmly and remarking how wonderful a day it is because of God’s goodness, and then telling us how gracious Christ was for him. As we stepped out of the elevator and signed out of the hotel before going to breakfast, I asked the man who checked us out how his day was going. “Ok,” he said. “Well,” I replied, “I hope you will have a wonderful day.” He responded, “I guess we have to try to make it that way.” I was struck at that moment at the difference between a grateful Christian, and those who have to try to make themselves have a good day.

A few minutes later we found ourselves standing in line to order breakfast behind the Christian who was radiating with joy. After we ordered our food, we went to pay, but the cashier said, “It is all paid for already.” Our elevator friend had quickly taken care of our breakfast! After expressing our gratitude to the Christian brother who paid for our breakfast, we had a very good conversation, and we found out that all his children loved the Lord, and that his son and daughter were joyfully serving on the mission field in Kenya. As he was speaking, I couldn’t help but think of Psalm 128: Blessed is the man that fears the Lord.

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