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2019 FUTURE OF CHRISTENDOM CONFERENCE: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

October 18-20, 2019 Lancaster Convention Center, Lancaster, PA

 

Upcoming Events

February 28, 2019

"What is Justice?"  at Eastern Berks County Committee Meeting 

October 18-20

Future of Christendom Conference: Advancing the Kingdom Through Enterprise

 

 

    

Highlights from 2018 Future of Christendom Conference

Oliver Cromwell

  "Not only strike while the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking"

Why a conference?

In an age of instant communication, web conferencing, internet blogging, and social media, is there a place for a brick-and-mortar, face-to-face conference?  We believe so, emphatically.

Without doubt, Most of our readers have noticed the shortfalls of social media.  While teleconferencing can handily enable us to assemble the nuts and bolts of our short term projects, we have all noticed the differences between electronic communication and meeting face to face.  The teleconference or social media platform may get us 80% of what we need, nearly for free.  img_3351.jpgIt's that last 20% that makes the difference between success and failure.  A conference puts us in touch to grab that last 20%.  If we are truly working to build God's Kingdom, we cannot afford to squander all the work in a failure of communication.  So yes, the last 20% is the costliest, yet it is so very valuable.

A focused conference puts us together with like-minded people...people who "get it"...with enough time to share ideas, and to generate better ones.  Have you ever noticed how this happens almost spontaneously when several gather together with time for a lively discussion?  We have! 

A conference breaks through the insulation that can surround us in a way that only happens in person.  It is exciting to realize that the people who spend the time and money to attend are usually people with ideas and who are looking for better ways to do things!

Several good things are intentionally built in to the Future of Christendom conference.  We start with a knowledgeable speaker lineup to stimulate thinking on the subject matter.  Then in order to leverage that, the schedule allows a generous amount of time for personal interaction and fellowship with speakers and other attendees.  This takes place throughout the day, in the evenings, and during the on-site meal times.

The very intentional purpose of our conference format is that attendees go home with several key things.  First are new ideas to help them fulfill their ministries, businesses, professions, or vocations more effectively.  Second are new or enhanced associations with others involved with similar work, forming a synergy that sparks productivity.  Third are new associations to promote and advance God's Kingdom in better and more effective ways.  MARS is continually attempting to spark new associations and we are thrilled to see them develop.

We encourage you to attend the Future of Christendom conference for a few days that will sharpen and enhance your work in your corner of God's Kingdom.

The dates of this year's conference are October 18-20 in Lancaster, PA.

See FutureofChristendom.org for further details. 

 

“AND” Is Not a Dirty Word

Don’t we love to see the world in black and white? Either this way OR that way. Christian OR not Christian. Agrees with me OR doesn’t.


No one can argue that black is white or someone is Christian and not Christian. That’s illogical – or insane. So count me in the logical camp. I believe that right and wrong are painted in black and white.


Here’s where it gets sticky:
Who says what is right and what is wrong? Where does the infallibility rest?


Image result for right wrongIn American society today, the red states are convinced the blue states are wrong. The blue states believe the red states are wrong with equal fervor. As a matter of fact, each side is convinced of its own absolute righteousness. The opposite side is thus seen as being absolutely wrong. What’s more, that opposite side must be eradicated because its mere existence is a blot of the fabric of the universe and offends the sensibilities of the righteous side.


Think about the so-called snowflakes on the current college campus. They are so sensitive to any opposition that they need “safe spaces” on campus to which they can retreat and not hear or think about things they deem offensive. They are as delicate a snowflakes and will melt away if touched. HooBoy. They’re “touched” all right.


This kind of absolutism has now almost completely permeated America. Worse, it’s found throughout Christ’s church in America. There seem to be fewer and fewer grownups who accept the idea that their ideas are not infallible. This is sort of to be expected in politics but in Christ’s church? Shouldn’t we know better?


There is only ever One Infallible Arbiter and that is God Himself. Often said, less often heeded.


What has happened to Christian charity that holds to the idea of “AND?”


For instance, I read and interpret the Scriptures in a way that convinces me to practice credo-baptism. I consider myself a Baptist. I also consider myself a Christian in that I hold to salvation by grace through faith. That makes me Baptist AND Christian. At least, I think so.


What of the Presbyterian? He reads the Scriptures in a way that convinces him to baptize his infant children into the Covenant. If he also holds to salvation by grace through faith that makes him Presbyterian AND Christian. At least, he thinks so.


Are we … can we … both be right? Well, right about the “Christian” part but not about the baptism part. Can we have a spirited debate over our positions on the ordinance of baptism? Of course, and we should. Should we go to war over that? I think not. Should I anathematize all Presbyterians? Sure. ‘Lil ole me is going to throw Jonathan Edwards over the side! Ridiculous. And Presbyterians are going to boil Charles Spurgeon in oil?

I am all in favor of exercising individual judgment and discernment. We do so when deciding tobe Baptist and not Presbyterian or Democrat and not Republican. Yet along with our judgment comes the responsibility to discuss our differences with those who hold the other view. Discuss, not necessarily shout. Exhort, not necessarily condemn.


As mentioned above, we Christians tend toward the black and white because much of God’s Word is black and white. In the Big Ten there is no wiggle room to interpret “Thou shalt not” in any other way. But (at the risk of sounding satanic) did God really say, “Thou shalt be Baptist?”


I am a post-millennial Baptist and tend to hang around with other post-mil Baptists more than those of other persuasions. There are plenty of dispensational, Presbyterian, amillennial, and even (gasp!) Methodist and charismatic folks in my circle of friends, too. Many of their positions I heartily disagree with. But they love Christ and are doing good works prepared beforehand.


Building up the Church is much more important than my harping on them about doctrines on which I think they’re wrong. We’ve had the discussions; they didn’t persuade me and I didn’t persuade them. Okay, let’s have a cup of coffee, sister. I may not hang out with these folks, but you might and that’s perfectly okay with me. Should I brow-beat you about that? That’s your business, not mine.


When I personally decide who is allowed to associate with whom, when I personally decide who must repent of what, I am on dangerous ground. I, personally, am not the Church which is the sole institution on earth with the power of excommunication. It’s not for me to bind someone else’s conscience.


So can’t we all exercise some mature Christian judgment (grace, even), take a deep breath, and relax a little? Can’t we have reasonable dialogue; answer a respectful question with respect? Can’t we acknowledge that someone with whom we disagree is Christian AND ___________?


Much of Jesus’ dialogue with His opponents was not as much to convince them of His righteousness as it was to convince those looking on. Unlike ourselves, His logic and arguments were unassailable and His witness was pure. We must recognize that our logic is not perfect and sometimes downright self-serving – a lousy witness to those looking on and not a pleasant aroma to our sovereign God.


If in our arguments we must attribute ill motives to those with whom we disagree, or engage in public condemnation, disparagement, denigration, slander and libel, or point fingers and shout and scream, then it’s very likely that we’ll receive treatment in kind.


Or be ignored so as not to add to the stench.


~John Bingaman, January 2019

Expressing our thanks for the 2018 Future of Christendom Conference

The 2018 Future of Christendom conference began and was complete in the blink of an eye. The planning and execution of the conference was filled with expected and unexpected challenges. Wethank our Lord Jesus Christ first, foremost, and overall for the time and blessings that we shared withthe attendees and speakers. Despite trepidations, uncertainties, and our own shortcomings, our hopesand expectations were exceeded. Sola Deo Gloria!


Attendance was up about ten percent from last year. Head counts are not the best way to measure success or blessing, but are perhaps the easiest and most consistent metric, and  hard to deny that, in general, the more in attendance the better the reach. Better still, excitement and enthusiasm were inthe air for the entire weekend with constant, busy and sometimes animated discussions taking place inthe vendor hall, as well as some quieter discussions throughout the comfortable hotel accommodations surrounding the conference area. No doubt some serious Kingdom business was transacted! There seemed to be a lot of folks carrying away armloads from the vast array of great books on the vendor tables, as well as informative material that was graciously provided free of charge on many tables. The meals that we shared were delicious, particularly the Saturday night banquet buffet.

We are certain that many first-time contacts were made, and believe that the connections establishedwill be used of the Lord for productive work in the future - the "future of Christendom" as we like to say.We, the MARS board, made a conscious effort to spend as much time as possible speaking with theattendees, even if it meant that we had a little less time to spend with the various speakers. We weregreatly blessed by this effort, as we realized the deep commitment to Christ and the vast knowledge andexperience of the folks who attended. What an encouragement to learn of the capabilities of thesemany people!Thanks to each attendee for your time in attending and in speaking with us.


The speakers and vendors, obviously key to the effort, came well prepared for their tasks, were consistently friendly and enthusiastic, and received high praise in the feedback that we received from attendees. We thank them for their hard work and commitment to our conference. We are tremendously blessed, too, by a large group of willing volunteers who did a lot of work that many did not see. Our humble thanks goes out to these fine people.


We hope that everyone who attended took home with them ideas and plans that they are now working to implement; that is our goal. Plans are in the works for the 2019 conference which will focus on building the Kingdom through enterprise, and address ways that Christians can serve Christ through business and the workplace. We trust that the time of learning, networking, and fellowship will again be a blessing to many, the date and place to be announced in the near future. Thanks again, and may the Lord bless you until next time!

Remembering Buddy Hanson

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December 19, 1941 – September 17, 2018

Please click here for an exellent tribute to our good friend, Buddy Hanson

By Martin Selbrede


 

From Pastor Joel Saint...

Pastor Joel's blog.

New posts at the top - scroll down for older posts...

Friday, 10 August, 2018


OK, it’s been awhile; my apologies.


Saturday, 11 August, 2018
And now, it’s been another whole day; more apologies.
The theme of our week long conference has been “All Authority.” Two conference
locations have been running simultaneously. I have spoken three times,
concentrating mainly on two areas: 1) Power vs. Authority, as mentioned above, and
2) Authority and Responsibility, from Exodus (mainly demonstrated by Moses).
The Zambians are, by and large pretty passive. The country is officially Christian, but
the UN types are working hard to introduce abortion and homosexual behavior,
both of which are illegal at present. Our message has been somewhat simple: You
must stand up and speak up, because those who hate Christ and His favorite
creation, people, are also working hard and are well funded.
The other night, during Q and A, speaking to about 45 people, I was asked if I am
allowed to say in the US what I was saying to them. May I speak as clearly about
what God says about the vices mentioned above, as well as the porno curse?
It turns out that they have sort of been keeping up with events in the US. I explained
to them that, in my church, I can still speak up. However, just to the north of us,
there is this country called Canada, and there, they are throwing pastor is jail for
speaking up.
I told them that I am free to speak… For now. And, it is my job to keep on speaking,
for if we pastors stay quiet, we know exactly where this thing will end.
Just now, I am relaxing a bit by the Kafue River. I’m hoping to include a photo or two.
There is supposed to be hippos and crocs in this river, but so far the most dangerous
thing I’ve seen is a large salamander.
We (Charl, Jason, and I) were just sitting here talking. Across the river, we can see
some banana trees. The trees are sort of scattered about, and there is much unused
land. Charl asked, “If you can plant a few banana trees and make a little money, why
not plant a lot of trees and make a lot of money?”
Charl then answered his own question: “These folks don’t think that way. They just
don’t think long-term.”
It’s true. Ron has made a point of saying that Zambians don’t consider the future.
Here’s an example: The other day Jason noticed that we were running out of bread
and remarked that we should get more. Ron then pointed out (backed up by Charl)
that that type of thinking is unusual here in Zambia in particular and Africa in
general. They don’t buy more when they are running low; they wait till they run out
entirely; then they buy more.
Most of the taxi’s we have taken run the same way. Serious business: They buy
enough petrol (gasoline) for each trip. Most of the time here, you get into a taxi, and
the gas gauge is at or below “E.” You get into the taxi, and you can be sure that the
first stop you will be making will be for about 2 or 3 quarts of petrol. Then, you can
be on your way.
More later; thank you all for your prayers and support! So far, no mosquito bites
whatsoever.

*** End

Monday, 5 August, 1:40 AM
Once again, middle of the night (sort of), and I’m pretty much wide awake. Today I
got to preach in a church pastored by one of our hosts, Bishop Fataki. It’s always a
little different speaking with an interpreter, but we managed, and he (the
interpreter) did well. It’s one thing to lecture, or simply teach, through an
interpreter; it’s another to preach where voice intensity, hand gestures, pauses, etc.,
are an essential part of the presentation.
Later today, during the first part of our seminar, I’ll be teaching, along with Charl,
Jason, and Ron.
Things are just really different here. So, check this out (and, once again, I was glad
for Charl letting me know that I should expect disruption as the norm here): OK, so
we were leaving a restaurant, and Bishop Mulenga’s car was not running well
(wouldn’t idle; kept stalling). Well, just as we were about to leave, as Jason and I
approached the car, we saw the hood was up, and two guys were standing there
eating fried chicken. They had some mechanical tools sitting on the ground
It was explained to us that these two guys were there to fix the car, but that they had
to take a lunch break. We found out later that Bishop Mulenga actually paid for their
lunch!! In the end, they didn’t fix the car at all, it kept stalling on the way home, but
here’s the crazy part: As I understood it, these guys needed a ride back home. So, the
bishop told them that he would be back to pick them up after he dropped us off back
at the BNB.
Yes, you heard right: 1) The car isn’t running right; 2) The “mechanic” guys try to fix
it, and can’t; 3) The bishop buys them lunch, then promises to give them a ride home
in the car they can’t fix!
This is Africa. Charl and Ron warned us, so no real big surprises yet…
Speaking of Africa, this past Saturday evening Charl introduced us to a real, good old
fashioned missionary. His name is Grant Schaeffer, and he works in northern Zambia
in a town near Lake Tanganyika. I can’t remember the name of the town. Anyway,
he’s been ministering there for 18 years, has 4 children, and lives in a house so small
that he has had to set up a tent outside of his house for his ministry correspondence.
While he does have access to electricity (most of the time, apparently), his income is
extremely sparse. Charl told us that he believes that last year he survived on about
10 thousand dollars for the whole year. He does have some support from some local
churches, and teaches men who are committed to teaching others. He also has a
small farm and coffee bean business.
However, he apparently has so little funds that he has to visit his supporting
churches via motorbike. Tell you what: Some of those rural roads are scary enough
to travel on by car, but by motorcycle? I’m definitely not envious.
But, Grant labors on. O, and did I mention? He’s post-mil. I reckon that helps.
And, yeah, while I was writing this blog, I managed to kill my first mosquito. Feeling
good about that!
Thank you for your prayers, concerns, and support; more soon!

*** End

Saturday 3 August, 2018; 2:56 a.m.
Yeah, it’s almost 3 a.m., and I’m basically wide awake. I don’t know if I went to bed
too early or too late. That’s the way it is with jet lag, I suppose. In any case, here I
am. And yeah, I had to enter this as Saturday, as it is here, but is still Friday in PA,
USA, of course.
It was a good trip here. Uneventful, really. You know what made it good, I think?
Well, before I left, I was thinking about dropping 30 bucks for this ultra-special
travel pillow from Amazon, but my penny pinching wife thought that was a
considerable waste of $$, and what was I thinking! She promised to get me one from
Goodwill or some re-useit place for a few pennies.
Well, that was supposed to happen on Monday, but when I got home from work on
Monday evening, she hadn’t found anything. “What’s up?” I asked. “You know I need
that pillow, right?” “Don’t worry, I’ve got this thing,” she said.
Well, when I got home Tuesday evening, there was the pillow. She had made it using
some stuffing—I think that’s what it’s called—and an old beach towel. It looked
great, but performed even better. Especially on the 2 nd leg of the trip, from Dubai to
Lusaka, I got some good sleep despite being confined to an uncomfortable middle
seat.
Secret to a good international flight? The right pillow. Seriously.
All right, sleep coming back, talk later about the accomodations here (very nice), our
hosts (very sincere), and the internet connection (very sketchy).

*** End