The Foundations Conference 2022 in Greenville SC has finished.
It was once again our distinct privilege to host our fifth conference assembling a unique blend of some of our generation's finest speakers on the campus of Bob Jones University in Greenville SC. Our focus for two full days was on prayer and the Word of Godâ€”what we believe to be the foundations of ministry (Acts 6:4).
An unusual gathering.
I am always personally blessed by these conferences because of the unique assembly that takes place between brethren that don't normally gather together. The Foundations Conference does not tie itself down to a particular denominational label or theological stripe. But, like SermonAudio's Articles itself, it is an attempt to promote Christian unity around essential truths that we can all agree on -- namely, the importance of the Word and prayer. December is a time when many celebrate Christmas. It reminds me of that remarkable occurrence of the "Christmas Truce of 1914" when French, German, and British soldiers put down their arms, came out of their trenches, and exchanged Christmas greetings (and even gifts) one to another. It all happened unofficially on their own accord and only lasted for a single day. Here's what one soldier wrote:
"We are having the most extraordinary Christmas Day imaginable. A sort of unarranged and quite unauthorized but perfectly understood and scrupulously observed truce exists between us and our friends in front. The funny thing is it only seems to exist in this part of the battle line â€“ on our right and left we can all hear them firing away as cheerfully as ever. The thing started last night â€“ a bitter cold night, with white frost â€“ soon after dusk when the Germans started shouting 'Merry Christmas, Englishmen' to us. Of course our fellows shouted back and presently large numbers of both sides had left their trenches, unarmed, and met in the debatable, shot-riddled, no man's land between the lines. Here the agreement â€“ all on their own â€“ came to be made that we should not fire at each other until after midnight tonight. The men were all fraternizing in the middle (we naturally did not allow them too close to our line) and swapped cigarettes and lies in the utmost good fellowship. Not a shot was fired all night."
The Foundations Conference, we hope, is a little taste of that Christmas Truce in our own day. Yea, of heaven itself. We are in a war. But we must understand that there are only two parties in this war -- Satan and God. My sentiment is summed up with the words of Abraham to Lot, "Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee; for we be brethren" (Genesis 13:8). In the words of Spurgeon:
"Satan always hates Christian fellowship; it is his policy to keep Christians apart. Anything which can divide saints from one another he delights in. He attaches far more importance to godly fellowship than we do. Since union is strength, he does his best to promote separation."
A difficult one.
In many ways, it was one of the most difficult weeks of my life. That may seem like an overstatement, but spiritual oppression is a real thing. In fact, I was so distressed by the second day that I scrapped what I was planning to do for The Vault Story talk and went with something totally different -- unscripted. Revelation 12:7 states something that we often don't think about, "And there was war in heaven." We don't really see the manifestation of this war in the physical realm. We live our lives day by day and all seems normal. But it's not. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We're in a war, and the first strike is often against our minds. That is why we must guard our minds -- what we bring into it, and what we choose to believe.
I believe the greatest weapon that we have is also the most under-utilized. That is, prayer. In my opening remarks, I took the opportunity to stress the importance of united prayer in the face of heightened levels of hostility and opposition. Extraordinary spiritual opposition should be met with extraordinary united prayer. It is to our own hurt that we ignore this weapon.
These are not just filler remarks. I believe what I said. And with the passing of every day, I believe it more and more. Will you seriously consider the words of Christ when He said, "This kind can come forth BY NOTHING but by prayer and fasting?" Friends, I invite you to pray with me via Zoom in Daily United Prayer. If not that, then gather together with any local group of believers to pray.
Also at this conference, we officially opened The Vault, a new project underway between SermonAudio and Bob Jones University that seeks to advance God's kingdom and train the next generation. I told The Vault Story on the Friday opening session and I'd love for you to hear of the amazing ways God has answered prayer with provision and people.
There is a secure storage facility tucked away in the side of an icy mountain above the Arctic Circle between Norway and the North Pole, called the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, or more commonly referred to as the Doomsday Vault. Its purpose is to house all of the world's seeds securely so that in the event of an apocalyptic situation or a global catastrophe, the seeds will be preserved to allow nations to grow various foods again.
We are building a "doomsday vault" of our own. Except in this vault, we would be housing the good seed of the preached word in the event of a catastrophic breakdown in relations with cloud providers and platforms. The bottom line is simple. It is imperative that we make every effort and take every step to ensure that the millions of sermons on SermonAudio are preserved for posterityâ€”for this generation and the next.
To be clear, this is a step of faith and we will be waiting on the Lord to touch the hearts of individuals to share this burden with us.
Learn more about it here:
Below is the complete list of all conference messages. We encourage you to take the time to download them freely and enjoy a concentration of preaching session that will enrich your soul and touch your heart:One of the highlights from the conference for our staff was to sit down with the various speakers and enjoy some light fellowship over a meal after a long day.
A Joint Resolution for United Prayer.
Two years ago, we set forward a proposal to gather with God's people to pray earnestly for the revival of the church and the advancement of Christ's kingdom on earth.
We began with WEEK #1 in January 2020 with just a handful of individuals but are now a group of 60+ saints from all over the world that meet together to pray each day over Zoom at noon. We call it UNITED PRAYER. Many of these saints travelled a great distance to attend this conference so we could at long last meet in-person face to face. On Dec 8, 2022, another proposal was put forward encouraging churches to recover the necessity of the prayer meeting.
This resolution is based on An Humble Attempt, originally put forward by Jonathan Edwards in 1748. Its design is to encourage God's people in the duty of united extraordinary prayer; setting aside some time every day or every week to pray for the revival of His church and the advancement of Christ's kingdom in our homes, in our churches, in our nation, and in the world. We would ask that you prayerfully consider joining us in this resolution.
On December 8-9, 2022 we did our best to communicate a burden. A burden for earnest united praying. A burden for passionate preaching. We look for God to command the blessing on this effort in the days, months, and years to come.
â€śThis kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.â€ť Mark 9:29