Today, the schedule included two morning general sessions rather than a general session and a workshop period. So we heard two more speakers from the book of Daniel, covering chapters 8 and 9. The first was chaplain Bill Gesser, and the 9 AM general session had a chaplaincy focus.
Gasser had the distinction of being the only speaker this week (so far) to preach without a tie on. U.S. Navy uniform instead. I was curious to see whether a chaplain in active service would take an expository approach to the passage, and was pleased to see that he did. His outline focuses on application but we gave a good bit of attention to the text and its flow and the message it offers to us.
Some of Gesser’s outline and observations:
The passage calls on us to make “two critical adjustments” (Gasser illustrated this from his experience as a Navy man getting involved with the troops in Kuwait and other places: battle requires adjustments)
- We must expect conflict in this world (five conflicts in the passage: Persia, Greece, Antiochus Epiphanes, Antichrist)
- We must protect what really matters (worship of God v.11, people of God, v.12a, 24 etc.; truth of God v12-“throw truth to the ground”). Gasser pointed out that the conflicts here are really examples of a script that plays out over and over again in human history: the Evil One attacks the things that matter most.
An emphasis in his application: for us in the present, the passage reminds us to be on the right side of this conflict and fight for what matters most. We need wisdom to fight the right fight.
The morning message was followed by a report on the GARBC chaplaincy ministry. We were reminded that GARBC “endorses chaplains” and has relationships with 135 of them. Those present were invited to the platform and we heard brief updates and thanks from several for ways the GARBC churches have assisted them.
I’ve decided (again) that I like soldiers—with a special bias toward U.S. ones and an even stronger bias for Christian ones. There’s something about their way of standing tall, looking you in the eye, and just looking generally intentional about things that somehow encourages me to pursue excellence. Maybe its the whole idea of honor and duty. I know I’m not the only one who admires that and is inspired by it.
At the end, we all gave them a standing ovation as they exited the auditorium.
(I couldn’t find my camera but noticed someone took a shot with his phone. So thanks to David King…. David, you probably better keep your day job (pastor) and forget about an AP photographer career))
Lots more photos, audio, etc. at the conference website.