I attended St. Davids Christian Writers Conference last week in Grove City, PA. Every morning (bright and early at 7:30) we had chapel. It’s a simple set-up and anyone who is interested pitches in to help with music, prayer and a sermon. Our theme this year was “Press On” and I thought I’d share with my readers some of the great and inspirational messages I received this week through these chapel sessions.
One of our most beloved members, Harry Bohrs, started off our week with a study of Philippians 3:14 – I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Harry encouraged us to not rest on our laurels, but to keep pressing on towards our goals. Too often we can just keep the status quo and be bogged down in the everyday tasks. But how are we moving towards the prize for which God has called us? It is a “holy obligation” to study the Word and to train ourselves for His purposes. We can become depressed or forlorn at the lack of progress. In order to build self-confidence in ourselves and in our work, we must continue to trust God and press on – keeping our faith intact at all times.
On Friday, Fara Pienosky graced our pulpit with her words. Fara has been through a lot in the last several years including a very painful divorce. After this devastation she quit public speaking, quit writing and was mad at God for a long time. Her speaking at chapel this week was her first time back in front of people – a testimony in and of itself.
Fara focused on Isaiah 54:10 – Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.
Her message was simple: Even when the mountains move – God remains. He remains loyal and He remains constant. His covenant never fails. Although she seemed broken by the events in her life, she was able to regain her footing with God by her side. She memorized and surrounded herself with this verse from the Psalms: Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. (36:5)
You see… He is above the mountain that has fallen. He is above all things. He does not need to stand on these things – He stands alone.
Finally, in our last chapel (we did have a commissioning service on the last day by Jim Watkins as well), Don Hasselman encouraged us to look to the Psalms again. This time with Psalm 139. To summarize – we can’t hide from God. He is the God of eternity – do you know what “never” means? At the end it says, Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Or, in other words, help me to press on. Keep me moving. Bring light where there is darkness.
At the end of the week, our conference director Jim Watkins encouraged us further with his commissioning to keep moving forward in God’s strength. When even we feel weak, He is our power.
(By the way, I won’t even go into our key note speaker’s speech at the beginning of the week. I’ll just say this: If you ever have a chance to meet Bob Hostetler – DO IT. Read his books, hear him speak, and get to know him. You will not be disappointed.)
I know I am inspired by these speakers to find God’s strength and His purpose for my life. When life gets me down or pushes back I intend to press on.
Keep striving to thrive. Keep pushing and pressing forward. Your time is now and God is with you.