Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Worldview Weekend in Branson

How do I even begin to describe how wonderful this past weekend was? Words won't suffice, but I'll do my best to at least give a taste. :)


In a brief summary, Leah and I went to the Worldview Weekend Conference in Branson, Missouri! The speakers were excellent, and it was so refreshing and encouraging to hear the truth and authority of God’s Word boldly defended and taught. I took so many notes and look forward to reading through them again and refreshing my mind on what was taught and studying a few things deeper.

The fellowship with other like-minded believers was also a great blessing! I appreciated visiting with many older couples and hearing the wisdom that they had to share, and it was so nice to see many dear friends again and to meet some new ones, too. I was so blessed by the conference and am very thankful we were able to go!

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The conference began Friday evening, so that morning found Leah and I taking care of our animals, finishing packing, and then heading out (Mom and Dad were so sweet to do all of our animal chores for us while we were gone . . . including bottle feeding baby goats in the middle of the night!) 

This was not only Leah's and my first time going to this conference, it was also our first road trip with just the two of us . . . we had a lot of fun! And the closer we got to Branson, our excitement kept building. :) 

During the drive down . . . it rained a lot that day

Once getting to Branson, we checked into our motel, got settled in, had something to eat, and then headed to the conference which was at the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre . . .


One of the very few times the parking lot looked this empty . . . normally it was packed! On Saturday afternoon, there was a four hour break so people could go eat, etc. Leah and I grabbed a bite to eat at our hotel, and then went back to the theatre early in hopes of being able to meet and visit with other people, and that's when this photo was taken . . . there weren't many there at first!

Not long after we first arrived at the conference on Friday, some dear friends of ours, Laura and Emily, did as well, and it was so nice to see them again! Other than the conference itself, that was the highlight of the weekend for me. :) It was also a blessing to meet and fellowship with several other young ladies as well. I love how the body of Christ can encourage and build up one another!

Emily, Valencia, Me, Ken Ham, Leah and Laura
(Laura and Emily know Ken Ham so introduced us to him!)
(Photo from Laura)

There were ten men who spoke at the conference . . . .

Brannon Howse (who is the president of Worldview Weekend) spoke on  "Hirelings versus Shepherds" which was excellent! As a family, we had listened to this same message on his website several weeks ago, but hearing it again in person (and with more information added) was a great blessing. It is such an encouragement to have a godly man teaching and exhorting the church to be discerning and to 'judge those within the church' (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) . . . to discern true shepherds from false teachers. 

One of the statements he closed with on Friday night was: "We are not to Christianize the culture, we are here to preach the gospel." Excellent, and very true, point.


Brannon Howse

He talked a great deal about the need to judge and discern and answered the oft asked question "Aren't you being too negative?" and made the very good point that "by pointing out error, you are proclaiming truth." This is further expounded on in his book Religious Trojan Horse (which I bought and began reading Friday night :) in which he says that "When we expose false teaching and false teachers, we proclaim and defend the authority, accuracy, and application of God's Word . . . ." (Religious Trojan Horse pg. 8.)

What's more, God has commanded us to discern, to judge with righteous judgment, to expose error, to contend earnestly for the faith, and so much more. Brannon Howse's sessions were so good and some of my top favorites of the weekend.

A shot of the screen

 Ken Ham spoke twice . . . once on "Genesis: Is It Relevant Today?" and then the next day on "Science and the Bible - The Myth of Neutrality" . . . the latter session I was especially blessed by! There is no such thing as 'neutral ground' (Matthew 12:30.) We either start with the foundation of God's Word or Man's Word. 

Everyone has the same evidence, but there are different interpretations. And why is that? Because we have different worldviews. We have either a Biblical worldview or man's worldview . . . so we have to decide who determines truth . . . fallible man, or God? If we are going to debate or have a discussion with another individual, the starting point must always be the Word of God.

Ken Ham speaking

Another speaker that I really appreciated was Mike Gendron. He spoke on "The Pending Death of Discernment." I liked it so much that I got a DVD of his on the same topic so that not only could I hear the message again, but my family could as well. I wish I could share here all of what he said, but as that isn't possible :), here are some of the points he made that especially stood out to me (many of these were taken directly from the workbook, but some from my notes) . . . 

"We must keep discernment alive if the church is to remain alive and healthy" - so true!

And why do we need discernment?

"Error mixed with a little truth is most effective because the fatal error is often hidden by a thin veneer of truth."

"We are living in the last days when deception will be more pervasive and powerful than ever before."

"To examine everything carefully so that we can hold fast to that which is good and abstain from every form of evil (1 Thessalonians 5:21.)"

"To identify and expose the preachers who are servants of the devil carrying out his goal to deceive the world (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)"

"To discover the knowledge of God and discern the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 2:5.)"

"To examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5.)"

"To know the will of God to turn from worldliness to godliness (Romans 12:2.)"

He concluded with "What can we do?"

"-Be part of the solution - not the problem. Doing nothing helps the enemy.
-As Scripture speaks with clarity, we must contend earnestly for the truth
-We can never compromise; we must confront with love and truth
-Discern between the spirit of truth and the spirit of error (1 John 4:6)
-Discern between our ways and God's ways (Isaiah 55:8)
-Turn from evil and do good (1 Peter 3:11)
-Love the truth and hate every false way (Psalm 119:128)
-Proclaim the narrow way to those who are on the broad way (Matthew 7:13-14)"

And a couple of statements that he said that I wrote down were:

"The critical issue is the purity of the gospel"

"We must live with discernment . . . we must discern between God's ways and man's ways"

Leah browsing one of the booths

Bodie Hodge spoke on the Tower of Babel and languages which was fascinating! Leah and I liked it so much that we each got the book (complete with many charts) that he had written on the Tower of Babel. I am looking forward to reading it and refreshing my mind on all that he had taught!

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Another session that I really appreciated was by Jared Carlson which was on "The Real Jesus Among False Christ's." He examined different cults in the light of Scripture, gave four categories of cults, how to test these things ("Test the prophets - Deuteronomy 18:20-22"; "Test the teaching - Deuteronomy 13:1-5"), and more. He began with sharing that Christ warned us to "see to it that no one misleads you" (Matthew 24:4), hence the great importance for discernment of truth from error. 

He later noted that most cults are: "any group with teachings that deny the central historical doctrines of the Christian faith" and they "usually center around a strong charismatic leader who claims to have a new revelation from God." He later talked about how any 'new revelation', must be tested by God's Word which is vital. If it doesn't stand up to the scrutiny of the Scriptures, it is false.

Another point that he made that I really appreciated as it is so pertinent was regarding examining for good fruit  . . . what is good fruit? (As in, the fruit that a true believer should be 'producing' in their lives; Matthew 7:15-20.)

"There are two kinds of fruits 

1. morality, ethics, etc.

AND

2. one's doctrine or teaching

Morality, ethics, etc. are not good fruit.

Good fruit is the doctrine or teaching one holds to"

. . . and then how it is lived out in our lives. A person can have good morals, ethics, and be a very nice person, but that doesn't make these "good fruit."  
  
 Looking out across the auditorium
(Leah and I as well as our friends are on the back row here)
Photo by Laura

Carl Teichrib taught a great deal on one world government, one world religion, etc. and what steps have taken place in the past and are taking place right now to move in that direction. I found it to be not only fascinating, but sobering (and I took a lot of notes during it!) What he shared was yet another reminder that we are living in the last days . . . and another example of Scripture prophecy being fulfilled.

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Jason Carlson spoke on "The Most Important Question Facing our Culture Today", and one of the convicting questions he asked near the end was "Does my life bear the fruit of one who's submitted to Christ and guided by His Holy Spirit?" It is a sobering question, and one that we need to be continually asking ourselves as we examine the fruit in our own lives. Another point he made that I really appreciated and need to keep in mind when discussing Scripture with others is the question: "What is your faith in and what is your reasonable basis for your faith." Everyone has faith . . . but on what is it based? 

And a favorite phrase that we often use ourselves was an encouragement to hear once again: "Jesus plus anything else is not the Biblical Gospel"

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Jesse Johnson spoke on "God's Mission to the World" and the importance of sharing the gospel . . . not 'social justice' and trying to transform society. Yes, we are called to minister to the poor, but the desired end of any means that we may use must always be the gospel. Christ has called us to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19-20a.) That is Christ's calling to the church . . . not transforming the culture. And as people come to know the Lord, then their lives will be transformed. 

He also shared that we see three specific groups of people that we are called to care for in Scripture, first - family; second - the church; third - our neighbors. Yet again, the end purpose for the latter is for the gospel to be proclaimed and for people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

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What Chris Pinto taught on was largely new to me as he focused upon "The Jesuits and the Counter Reformation." Prior to the conference, I was not very familiar with the Jesuits (other than the brief mention of them that was in my highschool history books :) so I found what he shared to be quite interesting and intriguing. I look forward to exploring this area further! 

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Jimmy DeYoung taught on "Jerusalem: The City of Creation, Conflict and Controversy." There were several things that I appreciated about what he shared including what he taught regarding the end times with the Rapture, Tribulation, Second Coming and then the Millennial Reign of Christ (in that order which is what my family and I also believe) and also what he shared about Israel's role in the end of the age. This is an area that is intriguing to me, and it was refreshing to hear it taught about not as replacement theology (the church having replaced Israel), but as Scripture teaches . . . that Israel is God's chosen people - separate from the church - and has a special role in the end times.

During the Question and Answer 
(Carl Teichrib, Jimmy DeYoung, Jared Carlson, Chris Pinto, Jason Carlson, Mike Gendron, and Brannon Howse.) 

As one of the original speakers was not able to make it to the conference due to illness, the sessions ended earlier on Saturday evening than had been planned so they had a Question and Answer for whoever would like to stay. Leah and I opted to stay, and I am so glad we did! I really enjoyed hearing the different questions that were asked and then how each man would respond to them. Not only were their answers quite interesting, it was also helpful to me, for when questions are asked of myself, to hear and learn from how they responded to the questions that were asked.

In addition to the excellent teaching, Brannon Howse sang a number of songs and Marty Goetz played and sang often before and between sessions. Marty Goetz would often have all of those attending the conference sing with him, and I loved lifting our voices all together in praise of the Lord! Especially when singing many of the old hymns together. Between Brannon Howse and Marty Goetz some of my favorites were sung . . . How Great Thou Art, It is Well, and Hallelujah! What a Savior.

Outside of the sessions, Leah and I were so blessed to visit with many people . . . we purposefully stayed after the sessions were over (except for Saturday night as it was quite late and we were so tired so we left right at the end of the question and answer), and then we came early before the sessions began in the hopes to meet and fellowship with other like-minded believers. We were not disappointed! I especially appreciated the wonderful conversations that we had with many older couples (one in particular as we had a lot in common!) and then another couple from Missouri that we talked with for quite awhile. And of course, I so enjoyed some sweet fellowship that we had with a number of other young ladies! Hearing their hearts for the Lord, what they were learning from the conference, how they wanted to apply it, and more was such an encouragement.

Over the course of the weekend, Leah and I were able to get several resources which we are looking forward to reading/watching/using! Here are the ones I came away with (and it was hard to decide! There was so much excellent material there, and I hope over time to add many more of the books/DVDs that were available there.)


It was a bit sad when the conference came to an end as the time had been so encouraging and uplifting . . . goodbyes were said, and we headed home. Our hearts and minds were full with all that we had learned and experienced and been blessed by over the weekend! The drive home went by much quicker than we had anticipated (not time wise, but mind wise :) . . . perhaps because we had so much to talk about! Once we got home, it was so nice seeing Dad and Mom again and doing what we had been looking forward to . . . sharing with them all about the conference! We talked with them for hours telling them about the conference, the different speakers, what was taught on, the different conversations we had, and more.

All in all, it was wonderful weekend . . . I was so blessed, encouraged and edified in the Lord and am looking forward to implementing many of the things I learned, utilizing the resources I was able to get, and continuing in building friendships with people met there.

21 comments:

  1. Sounds like such a fascinating, edifying conference, Sarah. We have met both Ken Ham and Jimmy DeYoung and have heard them speak several times. I'm wondering a couple of things: (1) What made you decide to attend this conference? And (2) What does it mean not to "Christianize the culture?" And how would that be different from preaching the gospel, and watching the culture transform because of it?

    ~ Betsy

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  2. This looks like the most awesome weekend ever, Sarah!! I'm so glad that you and Leah got to go - thank you for sharing some of the blessings with us! :-D

    Just something kind of cool - one of my local radio stations was broadcasting Ken Ham's messages from the conference this weekend, so I got to hear part of the "Myth of Neutrality" message on the radio - maybe I was listening to it at the same time as you! :-) At any rate, it was definitely a blessing to me, too ...

    Thanks again for sharing your weekend with us!

    Love in Christ,
    Vicki

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  3. Sarah, what a weekend! i know how times like that can be times of refreshment and learning. Mixing and fellowshipping with other believers is such a joy.
    So glad you had such a marvellous time.

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  4. Thanks for taking the time to share all this, Sarah. I was blessed just by your notes; I'm sure the whole weekend was fantastic! So glad you got to go; thanks for passing on the blessing! ....Oh, and I had to smile when I read that you went early in hopes of finding extra fellowship. That sounds so much like what I would do! :)

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  5. Sarah, That was a great summation. We came from Wisconsin as a gift to each other for our 51st anniversary.

    In answer to 7 Eagles question - the difference is that many believers make their focus to boycott stores, join groups like Tony Blair's efforts to help the poor with all religions working together, but none able to share their faith - just the good deeds, thank you, in efforts to change the culture. Only God can change people as you said, by preaching the gospel and showing love with the freedom to share that we do what we do because of Christ, and what He's done for all of us.

    I also have pages of notes, and some great resources to review and gifts to share. An exhibitor who was not a presenter that blessed me was the family of Darren and Cara Grant with their book Are You Playing by the House Rules? - It's a fiction version of a family experiencing all the things discussed at the conference, and it could well be an example of America's future. We'd highly recommend the conference, and thank you for the great review.

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  6. Wow! That is a lot of notes you took. Your hand must be so worn out of writing by the time the conference is over. Maybe next time bring a laptop in order to save from tiring your hand out? :)

    One question. The Tower of Babel book with charts? Is sign language mentioned as one of the languages or not?

    I'm glad you had a great time at the conference and that you got to spent special times with your sister outside of farm.

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  7. I went last year and absolutely loved it! Our family wasn't able to attend this time so I loved your post and one FB friend I met at last year's conf. posted a lot of pictures and that was fun to look at. Mike and Jane Gendron go to the same church we do. In fact, I met them at the conf. last year and told them about our church and they ended up visiting a couple months later and never left. They are such a blessing! It is a very small church with a wonderful Biblical pastor and wonderful people. We have lots of homeschool families with lots of children! You did a great job describing the conf. The likeminded fellowship is such a blessing! I'd like to hope we might get to meet next year!

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  8. I am so pleased that you were blessed with an awesome weekend. Beautiful.

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  9. It was, Betsy! That’s neat that you have met Ken Ham and Jimmy DeYoung and also heard them speak several times! This was the first time for me to hear them in person.

    Good questions! What made us decide to attend the conference? Many reasons. :) Some of them being: the desire to learn and grow in the Lord by hearing the sound scriptural teaching that was going to be presented by godly men, to be encouraged in our walks with the Lord, and to enjoy fellowship with other like-minded believers. And we were not disappointed!

    As far as what it means to not “Christianize the culture” but “preach the gospel", D Liesner, shared some good thoughts in response to your question in the comment they left. Basically, as believers, we are not to work to transform the culture by trying to make it follow in outward practice the morals/character that are in Scripture. The heart must first be changed. Our priority must be to preach the gospel and then as people come to know the Lord, their lives will change and they will begin to develop the godly character that God desires them to have. Trying to change just the culture won’t work . . . what’s more, it isn’t what God has called us to do. I hope that makes sense!

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  10. It was indeed, Vicki! I am so glad we were able to go. And you’re welcome for sharing! I am glad that it could be a blessing to you.

    That is neat that you listened to the “Myth of Neutrality” by Ken Ham on the radio! Maybe we were listening at the same time. :) It was excellent, wasn’t it?

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  11. It was, Elizabeth! And yes, it was indeed a wonderful time of refreshment and learning. And as you shared, fellowshiping with other believers is such a joy. I am so thankful we were able to go!

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  12. You’re welcome, Amber! I am glad that it could be a blessing to you. The weekend was amazing . . . even better than I had anticipated!

    Yes, I can imagine that would be something you would do, too. :) We were so blessed by the fellowship we were able to enjoy!

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  13. Thank you for your comment, D Liesner! And for answering 7Eagles question as well. :) I appreciated hearing what you shared.

    Happy 51st Anniversary! What a blessing that you were able to go to the conference together. It was an amazing weekend full of so much encouragement and edification in the Lord!

    That is wonderful that you were able to get some resources to share as gifts. I pray that they will be a blessing to those who receive them! And thank you for mentioning that book by the family of Darren and Cara Grant. I’ll have to look into it as it sounds intriguing.

    Thank you again for your comment!

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  14. It was quite a lot of notes, Leah! And yes, by the end of the weekend, my hand was tired. :) It’s not used to that much writing!

    No, sign language wasn’t mentioned as one of the languages as Bodie Hodge was speaking about the spoken languages that came about when God confused the languages of the people at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11.) From what I would understand, sign language (like Braille) would be another way to communicate one of those already spoken languages.

    Thank you! It was indeed a wonderful time for both of us.

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  15. Thank you, skManning for your comment! I enjoyed reading what you shared. That is wonderful that you were able to go last year . . . hopefully next year you will be able to go as well! And as we are hoping to attend, too, maybe we would be able to meet. :) That would be nice!

    I am sure it is a blessing to be able to have Mike and Jane Gendron as part of your church! The session he gave on discernment was excellent . . . I wish every believer in Christ could hear it. And that is wonderful that many homeschool families come to your church as well. I can imagine how sweet everyone’s fellowship together must be!

    Thank you again!

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  16. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing about your weekend. I enjoyed reading all about it! :) Sounds like a good conference!
    And it is always such a blessing to be able to meet and visit with like-minded people! I'm glad you and Leah were able to go!

    We have several Worldview Weekend DVDs from past conferences that have been good to watch.

    Blessings!
    ~Amy

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  17. You're welcome, Amy! And thank you for your comment. :) It was so nice to see one from you here!

    The conference was excellent and it was indeed a blessing being able to visit with like-minded people. We were so blessed!

    That is wonderful that you have some of the DVDs from past conferences. I am sure they are very good! I am hoping to get some of them someday as well as I know I would enjoy and appreciate them.

    Thank you again, Amy!

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  18. AnonymousMay 03, 2013

    Sounds like I missed a great conference! I had spent the week at Big Cedar with my oldest daughter, sil, and two granddaughters. :-) I must have passed you on the road coming home! Sure sounds like it was an encouraging, uplifting conference.
    Blessings,
    Anne♥

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  19. It was a wonderful and encouraging conference, Mrs. Anne! And I know that you would have been blessed by it. :) They have it every year in Branson so maybe you could go next year!

    It sounds like you had a very special weekend, though. :) I can well imagine how much fun you all had together!

    Seeing your comment as anonymous, I was wondering if you aren't blogging anymore? I have missed your posts! Your blog was always one of my favorites to visit. :)

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  20. Looks like you had a wonderful weekend! :) sounds like it was so uplifting! It's always a treat to get away and have our spiritual cups filled back up. :)

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Thanks so much for your comment! Each one is read and enjoyed. :)