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October 09, 2008

And at 6:45 the conference got underway, right on time (though my brain and my computer are still one time zone ahead).

After playing some instrumental numbers, including a very nice Irish reel, Keith Getty and his band led the crowd in “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” Immediately I noticed how different a sound there is between 6000 women and, as at Together for the Gospel, 5000 men; or maybe it’s as much the feeling as the sound. With men there is a boom when that many voices rise together—something you can feel through the floor and feel in your chest. And though the women sing beautifully, it is not a feeling but a sound.

Bob Lepine took to the stage after the hymn to welcome everyone to the event. He said that 6350 women had registered for the event and that there is at least one women registered from every one of the states but Hawaii and Vermont. There are women here from 8 foreign countries (does Canada count as a “foreign” country?) including 100 from Dominican Republic. He then introduced Nancy Leigh DeMoss who shared some of the purpose behind this event and opened in prayer. The Getty’s took over again, reading from John 1 and singing “In Christ Alone,” “Across the Land,” “Everlasting God” and “Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer.” The Getty’s have their touring band here—guitar, drums, bass and fiddle. Keith plays piano and sings backup on most songs while Kristyn leads. I love hearing them with their band—they are very tight and the fiddle adds such an important dimension to the Irish elements of their songs.

Though I’m sure many of the women here will be blogging about the event, Carolyn McCulley and I have been asked to blog the event in an “official” capacity. We’re sitting in the sound booth, about halfway down the hall, between the guy who says things like “standby for video…roll it!…nice! Very nice!” and the English-to-Spanish translators.

In just a few moments, John Piper is going to take to the stage and offer the conference’s first message.

Incidentally, if you’re watching the live video stream, you’ve got this guy to thank. I find it amusing that all those old(er) laptops arrayed along that shelf are the ones doing all the hard work of rendering the video in its various forms (high quality, low quality, Windows Media, Flash, etc). But it’s probably just the geek in me that is even noticing.


October 09, 2008

It somehow seemed appropriate that both the Captain and the First Officer of the flight that took me to the True Woman Conference were women. Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. I’ve often wondered if a female pilot would laugh if I said, “I’m totally comfortable with you flying the plane, but, you know, I’ve seen my wife’s spatial sense and, well, would you mind letting a man park it?” (If it’s not painfully obvious, I’m joking—don’t hate me.)

Whenever I leave for a conference I pack all kinds of books, but I generally pick up another one at a bookstore in the airport—something that makes for easy reading when I’ve got all kinds of ambient noise, a seat reclined in my face, and somebody I don’t know snoring on my shoulder. Today it was, finally, Three Cups of Tea and I read the first 150 pages. Overrated but still interesting. I splurged and bought a couple of other books as well—one dealing with the Second World War and one with music. We’ll see.

Anyways, the crowds of women are gathering out in the halls as they wait to head into the convention center. For now, here is the scene inside:


And here, from earlier, are the Getty’s and their band, preparing to lead in worship. Things will get underway in about 90 minutes. Tonight we’ll hear messages from John Piper and from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.


October 09, 2008

Today I’m a True Woman; or I will be, at any rate. This morning, before the sun comes up, I’ll be heading to Chicago to take in the True Woman Conference. This conference promises to be unique among those I’ve attended for the very fact that it is a conference for women (and, in case you’ve never realized it, I’m no woman). Of course I’m accustomed to going to conferences for which I am not the core demographic—I’ve been to pastors’ conferences, youth conferences, preaching conferences and the like. But I don’t know that I will ever have felt so different as I’m bound to feel there in Chicago, Illinois, among 6,000+ women. Time will tell, I suppose.

Anyways, it promises to be an excellent event. The list of speakers is top-notch and it sounds as if True Woman has a unique goal. I’ll tell you more about that once the conference gets underway. For now I’ve got customs to clear and a plane to catch. I’ll check in from the other side. Expect an update later this evening.

May 29, 2008

Last night I grabbed a few of the newest Banner books from the rather well-stocked bookstore here at the conference.

This morning Rick Phillips preached his second message on the book of Hebrews, this was entitled “Outside the Camp.” It was based on Hebrews 13:9-14: “Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” Those who were at Together for the Gospel will note that this was the same text that John Piper spoke on and while Phillips’ sermon was very different, there was certainly some overlap. He focused especially on verses 12 and 13, saying that these verses are the very heart of Hebrews. It is the heart of the pastoral message and motive that is being given to these Christians (and to us today). He warned against the lure of false teaching that draws big crowds and wins popularity and encouraged instead that pastors need to be willing to go outside the camp and to suffer there with Christ. The suffering of pastors as they face persecution for the message they preach is the same suffering that Christ passed through when He was on the cross. Pastors must be willing to bear the reproach that Christ has already endured.

After a brief break, Ian Hamilton took the pulpit to preach his second message, titled “The Minister’s Character.” His text was Isaiah 42:1-5. Looking to this text he showed that here we are introduced to the servant of the Lord—Jesus Christ Himself. There is no other kind of gospel ministry than that of servant ministry. So pastors need to consider, ponder, behold this servant. God raises up servant, the second man, the second Adam. He is God’s answer to the darkness and vanity. We see here that he is set up as the model of true servanthood.

Servants are answerable only to God and are committed to doing His will come what may. We are not only the servants of God but also of the people of God. If you do not have a heart for God’s people, you should not be in Christian ministry. If our hearers do not feel that they matter to us more than life itself, if they do not see, hear and feel in what we say to them and how we interact with them than their good matters to us more than life itself, our preaching will never impact their lives.

The remainder of the message was structured around found things the Lord tells us to behold in this passage. What is it that He is particularly reminding us to behold in Christ?

His complete dependence on God (“whom I uphold”) - The Savior was upheld by God and the Spirit of God was placed upon Him. It was by the power and grace that He was enabled to carry out His ministry. He lived and ministered in humble dependence upon His Father.

His unyielding faithfulness to God - He would allow nothing to distract or divert, far less determine, what He would do. He was utterly faithful to the calling God had given Him. We need to let this mind be in us—that Christ had a commission from the Father and though it would cost Him everything, He would pursue and fulfill it. Being united to this servant of the Lord, we must go through many tribulations to enter the kingdom.

His personal humility before God - The servant’s service was humble. He does not shout others down or seek to promote himself at the expense of others, for He is the servant of Jehovah. It is never enough to speak the truth; the way we speak the truth is every bit as important as the truth we seek.

His servant’s unimaginable grace that magnifies God - The Lord’s servant in this chapter is not less than God himself. He is the true revelation of Jehovah. Here is the animating pulse of the servant’s ministry—He is gentle with the weak and the fragile. But it is far easier to preach grace than to practice it. Christ doesn’t just welcome sinners—He runs after sinners and embraces them. Does this kind of grace mark our ministries? Does it mark our churches?

And finally, we need to note that God says “Behold my servant…in whom I delight.” God delights in those who preach His Word and He loves them. This gives grace and confidence to the servants of the Lord.

May 28, 2008

This evening’s session was based around a talk given by Iain Murray and entitled “Our Present Needs.” It was a message that felt like an older pastor lovingly exhorting younger pastors. He covered three great needs for pastors (he spoke in the first person plural and I will do the same even though the “we” doesn’t really apply to me as a layperson!).

Our Need for Less Self Confidence

Calvin’s Institutes begins with by saying that sound wisdom begins with two parts—the knowledge of God and of ourselves. When we are young we pursue the knowledge of God but often omit the knowledge of ourselves. We assume that the knowledge of ourselves is a comparatively easy study but this is really an expression of our self-confidence.

He showed a few ways that we inadvertently display our self confidence.

First, we set out in our work, find difficulties, and tend to think that they are not insurmountable; if we give ourselves to it we shall overcome and win. But we come to find that there are difficulties that can be overcome and we tend not to anticipate this. We do not realize the importance of spending time in the school of failure. We have to learn our inability.

Second, we show our self-confidence in our prayer lives. We all confess there is a discrepancy between what we believe about prayer and what we actually do. We could offer many reasons that this is so. God has given us great promises and yet we pray in secret so little.

A third illustration of self-confidence is in the satisfaction we have with our theology. The Lord has taught us certain great truths and we should love and honor these. Among these truths we hold fast to the doctrines of grace and in the past fifty years there has been a remarkable recovery in these doctrines. But the danger comes that when men think they’ve ascended to these heights they feel they’ve mastered any point of theology. There can be a satisfaction in theology that is warranted in the Scriptures, but we do well to remember that the most advanced in the school of Christ are still but little beginners. There is so much we do not know and do not understand. The man who thinks he knows anything knows nothing. “We are called to preach far more than we understand.”

Our need of increased and persevering faith in God

When we consider our weakness and our inability, is it not amazing how many have done such great things for the cause of Christ? Faith is the mainspring of the Christian life and ministry. With all that the Bible says about faith and the importance given to it, it is no surprise that our faith is the main point of Satan’s attack. There is such a thing as being an “unbelieving believer.” In a real sense this applies to all of us.

We need an increase in faith in Scripture as the Word of God. Such is the perversity of our nature that we can become hardened even during the exercise of studying the Bible week after week, day after day. One can study Scripture and be dry as a bone. We can become people who feel nothing for the Word we preach.

We need an increase in faith in all of God’s attributes but particularly in His goodness and love. The first temptation of Satan was to tempt Eve to doubt the goodness of God. The message of the Bible is that God is benevolent and that He is friendly-minded towards sinners. Murray offered two reasons that this area needs to be strengthened: our spiritual happiness depends upon it and the recovery of the orthodox faith depends upon it. We can err in giving the impression sometimes that God is just interested in a small number of people whom He favors while the rest of mankind is outside of His compassion and interest. The way to counter this is to show God’s love for sinners. We can also fall into the trap of repeating truths but ones that have not been properly digested and meditated upon. For many people the intellectual priorities are too high while the priority of reaching the lost and serving the church is too low.

Our Need for Guidance on the Best Use of Our Time

When we first became Christians we became aware of the fact that time is precious; time is short. But as we get older it is a solemn reality that there is a divine inspection before us. We will all stand before the Judgment Seat to give an accounting. Only what Christ does in and with and through us will last; only that is of spiritual value. Should we not dedicate our time to those things? We need guidance about the best way to use the time we’ve been given. We need guidance to do the things we’re called to do and to leave aside the things we’re not called to do.

Here he offered six points directed especially to young men:

  1. It has been the practice for many ministers to be away from the routine and to look closely at our lives in the light of eternity. This is a valuable practice—taking a day per month or a few days per year.
  2. Watch your own temperament. If you love being out and about you probably need to be in your study more; if you love to be in your study you may need to be out and about more.
  3. Read the best books and only the best and read them with a pencil in your hand or with some other system so you can recall even years later what you’ve learned.
  4. Be sure you do not let emails and web sites control your priorities.
  5. We need very carefully to avoid losing time on controversies. Sometimes it is necessary but most often it is not.
  6. Do not “see” in your churches what you cannot change. In most churches there are things we’d like to see changed but that we can’t change. Sometimes it is good not to see such things—to just ignore them. It is better not to see a disputable matter that can disrupt the whole church.

The Need to Pray for a Great Awakening

We can become so accustomed to the status quo that we stop anticipating great change. The keenness of our expectation slowly disappears. Very few ministers keep up the edge on their spirit that was there at first. There is a sense in which being dissatisfied with the present is sinful, but we can still eagerly anticipate God’s works. The extraordinary is not ordinary and there is a real sense in which we need to be satisfied with what God is doing now. But at the same time it is true that we need to expect great things from God.

Murray’s final exhortation was this: we may not see a revival in our lifetimes but we have a present duty to be filled with the Spirit. There is a great danger that we’ve lost the awareness of the changes in our ministries if God was to fill us with the Holy Spirit.

This was a wonderful message and one that seemed to move the men in attendance. If you can find the audio, listen to it!

May 28, 2008

I had a good and restful evening last night. My roommates never showed up (or maybe I was never assigned any). Regardless, I got to bed early and woke up early; just the way I like it! I enjoyed breakfast with some fellow Reformed Baptists, though these ones hail from Maryland. It was good to spend some time with them.

This morning began with a sermon from Rick Phillips, whom I’ve written about several times in connection to his involvement with the Reformed Expository Commentary series. He preached on Hebrews 7:26-28 (and having written a commentary on the book he is well qualified). This is the first of two messages he’ll preach. This one was meant to lay much of the ground work with the bulk of the application coming in the second.

The passage he spoke on is one of the great chapters in the Bible and is Scripture’s most concentrated teaching on Jesus’ High Priesthood. His sermon reminded me of James Boice’s “Where is the Lamb?” sermon that he preached many times. From this text Phillips taught that there are four things that must be asked about any sacrifice: what is offered; to whom it is offered; by whom it is offered; for whom it is offered. He moved through each of these headings showing that the sacrifice was for sinful man under condemnation of the law; that it was offered to the Holy God; that Christ Himself was offered; and that it was offered for the sake of those who would be Christ’s. He taught that though “Where is the lamb?” is a great question, we must also ask “Where is the true priest?”

He offered just a few words of application to the pastors here, focusing on the necessity of preaching on sin and atoning blood. Those Old Testament sacrifices always pointed forward to Christ; as blood was so central in the sacrificial system, so Christ’s blood must be central to the theology of the New Testament church. His exhortation was to hold to this theology and to preach this theology with boldness.

After a short break, we enjoyed a sermon by Iain Hamilton entitled “The Minister’s Calling. ” He preached from Romans 11:33-36. It was a message very much geared towards pastors and very much encouraging them to press on in their calling to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ even as they deal with the tough times that are inevitable to those who are called to minister.

May 27, 2008

This morning I headed to the airport and made the brief hop to Harrisburg, PA. It was a short flight (just over an hour) on the tiniest plane I’ve flown on. You know it’s a small flight when the guy who takes your bags planeside (and who checks your seat belts and who explains the emergency exit procedures) pulls off his orange safety vest, jumps into the cockpit and flies the plane! The plane was hot and smelly and small enough that there was no snack service, but I was engrossed in a book and barely noticed. Incidentally, have you ever noticed how the smaller the plane, the more the pilot flies it like a fighter jet? I’m pretty accustomed to flying by now but there were a few times where my stomach fell to the floor! What a ride.

Anyways, I am here for the Banner of Truth Ministers’ Conference. This is my last conference for the year (or for the spring at least). Though I am feeling a mite “conferenced out,” I really did want to experience Banner of Truth—the original Reformed ministry and Reformed conference. Before there was Together for the Gospel or The Basics or Ligonier or any of these, there was Banner of Truth. It has long stood firm and has brought us countless numbers of great books. We are gathered here on the campus of Messiah College and look forward to messages from Iain Murray, Rick Phillips, Ian Hamilton, David Troxel and David Campbell. A couple hundred men have gathered here to enjoy this event and to enjoy fellowship together. Though there are nine plenary sessions, it looks like the schedule allows for a fair bit of off-time, ideal for catching up with old friends (I’ve already met a couple of friends I didn’t know would be here). I’ll be bringing updates over the next couple of days before heading home Thursday afternoon.

The first sermon came courtesy of Iain Murray and he spoke on John 21:18-19—the last command of Jesus. He spoke to the pastors here of what it means to follow Christ and to live life in His presence and for His service.

After this message we broke for dinner and I observed that this conference is one that functions almost like a fellowship. Many men clearly come year after year and on the first day there are reunions all around. I ended up eating at a table filled with Canadians (and one American), some of whom went to the churches I did back in my younger days. It was good to meet them for the first time in many years and to catch up on all that has happened since. And then I hurried back to my dorm to guest on Moody Radio’s Prime Time America (you can probably find the archived audio on the site if you care to listen. You can likely guess what we were discussing. I was on 1.5 hours into the program if you want to fast forward).

And as I write this we are at the end of the conference’s second message, a sermon by Craig Troxel entitled “Fan the Flame” and expositing 2 Timothy 1:6. I’m in a hurry to post this because Iain Murray is going to lead a guided tour of the bookstore (a task that usually falls to Sinclair Ferguson who, unfortunately, was not able to be here this year). It will be interesting, I’m sure, to gain Murray’s perspective on these books (all of which are published by Banner of Truth).

I’ll check in again tomorrow…

May 15, 2008

The Basics conference is just wrapping up with a Q & A session involving the three speakers (Alistair Begg, Jerry Bridges and Voddie Baucham). They are answering questions put to them by the people attending the conference. Questions have varied from the spiritual qualifications of men and women who serve in worship teams, to the place of parachurch ministries in the life of the church, to the reason there is no cross at the front of the sanctuary of this building. Good questions, good answers.

This is the second year I’ve been at The Basics and my experience this year has been much the same as last year. This is really a good conference and one that is geared very specifically and very sensitively to pastors. I especially enjoy the pacing of the conference. Often when I attend conferences I find them almost frantic—every session I’m thinking already of the next session (or how I’m going to track down some lunch or…). But at this conference there is really no reason to worry and there is no reason to leave the church campus or to hurry about. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks are all provided by godly volunteers. The speakers eat in the same area as the people attending and they are available to whomever would like to speak to them. There is a break after every session with no three hour periods of sitting still on a pew. The cost is minimal and the benefits great. It is a very good atmosphere with unparalleled opportunities for fellowship. It is easily one of my favorite conferences.

I’d encourage you to consider treating your pastor to this conference next year. Next year’s roster will include Alistair Begg, John Lennox and John Piper. It is bound to be a good one. Keep an eye on the web site for Parkside Church and get your pastor out here next year. It will be a blessing to him and to you.

May 14, 2008

This morning Alistair Begg continued the message he began yesterday. In the first message he covered the first point and today he covered the final two.

The Method

The tools of the trade are words and the ministry we exercise is a ministry of the Word, proclaiming Christ as the living Word, by using words. Even a casual survey of church history shows that whenever the church has lost sight of the importance of the Word, it has been destructive to her mission.

There is a staggering ignorance of biblical truth in evangelical churches today. At the very heart of this is the absence of biblical, expository, teaching ministry in the pulpits of this country. There is a preoccupation with images, senses, intuition; these things are so predominant in the minds of people that while we could never imagine this being the case, a generation is growing up that is fascinated by sitting in a basement with a number of candles and documents from the Middle Ages and some kind of music playing in the background and a variety of sensual experience…and what is missing is some kind of didactic, helpful proclamation of the Bible. The message of the gospel cannot be proclaimed without words.

Begg offered two points dealing with the message of the gospel:

Do not peddle the Word of God (2:17). The word “peddle” in chapter 2 and verse 17 refers to a person who bought something, fiddled with it, and sold it for a higher price. Certain men would buy wine, dilute it with water and otherwise tamper with it, and then resell it—they would make it more appealing and more profitable. They were masters of deception. But the gospel minister is not to be like this. He is to bring the gospel pure and undefiled. It is not that pastors today do not believe that the Bible is not God’s revelation but rather that people tamper with it a little bit, adding to it or taking a little bit away from it.

At this point Begg referred several times to The Courage To Be Protestant by David Wells (a book he has mentioned often at the conference).

We preach Jesus Christ as Lord. Pastors are the servants of God and are called to make much of Christ in all the Scriptures. This involves setting forth the truth plainly. There is to be nothing fraudulent or crafty. He is to be removed from any kind of double-dealing. We preach Jesus Christ as Lord and preach Him clearly. He spoke of the three “c’s” of gospel preaching—candidly, clearly, courageously. Paul resisted every inclination he had to play the rhetorical game that was so popular in that culture. Paul preached only Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And this is the model for pastors today.

God is pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. The task of gospel preaching is not just difficult, but impossible, because God has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see who Christ is. In our preaching of the Bible we preach to those who are perishing and blind to the truth. The problem does not lie in the gospel or in the clarity of God’s proclaiming of the gospel, but in the condition of the listener. It takes God’s revelation to even show the listener that he is blind.

The Men

What is to be the character of the individuals who are to be the communicators of this truth? Here, with time running out (actually, with time long gone) he mentioned four things:

Self-effacing. We do not preach ourselves. Paul was being accused of doing just this kind of self-promotion and he was willing to acknowledge this as a problem. Self-promotion and pride is the cause of the vast majority of the moral collapses of ministers.

Servants. As a servant of Jesus the pastor is also a servant of the followers of Jesus. Yet he must remember that the followers of Jesus are not his master.

Saved. This is no case of academic theorizing; a gospel minister must be truly saved. Here Begg paused to give an evangelistic call since it really is possible that even in this assembly there are men who are pastors or in church leadership for whom the story of the gospel is as a light shining right into their souls revealing the absence of personal, living faith in Jesus.

Fragile. Human frailty is not a barrier to usefulness. Weakness is an advantage because of the dependence it brings about. Pastors are to be expendable messengers who bring an indestructible message.

We must then be clear about the message, its source in God and its substance (a gospel of grace); clear about the message, saying no about peddling and yes about preaching Christ; and asking God to make us men who are entirely dependent and men who are utterly disposable.

May 13, 2008

Tonight Jerry Bridges provided his second address, this one look to 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 which says “For the love of Christ controls us [that we] live might no longer live for [our]selves but for him who for [our] sake died and was raised.” He continued to speak on the theme of preaching the gospel to ourselves. And in this case he taught that we need to preach the gospel to ourselves because it reminds us of the love of God. This is the biggest motivating factor in the passage. The love of Christ for us should be the compelling motive for living the Christian life. We can often be motivated in life and ministry by a sense of duty rather than the love of Christ. Duty is not wrong, but it will not get you out of bed in the morning. This is not the way to live the Christian life. We need to be motivated by something more.

Bridges expressed again his indebtedness to John Owen’s Communion with the Triune God. Owen teaches that we enjoy communion with God in His love. The focus of the book is the love of the members of the Trinity to us and how we are to respond to that love. At the basis of this communion is love for us.

Owen speaks of the infinite ocean of love which is in the bosom of the Father. He speaks of the love of God’s purpose to do good for us which prompts Him to send His Son. This is true but it does not go far enough. God also has a love of friendship and approval and this is a level of God’s love we may not think much about. God loves with a love of affection. He quoted a paraphrase of Owen - “The greatest burden and sorrow you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to Him is ___.” What would you say? To commit a scandalous sin? To have a moral failure in the ministry? No, it is not to believe that He loves you. But how often do we doubt the love of God? There are two main causes for doubt: the first is our sin as we ask “How can God love me, the sinner that I am?” But God’s love is not conditional; it is self-generated. The second reason we might doubt God’s love is when we go through adversity. The thought comes into our mind that if God really loved us He wouldn’t allow this to happen. Yet when we go back to the Scripture we find that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God.

He turned to Zephaniah 3 and again pointed to God’s love. Love is the lover’s delight in the beloved. His love will not allow Him to complain about anything He sees in the beloved. What a mind-boggling statement because we know there is plenty in each of us to complain about and we know how often we complain even about those we love. God could look down and wonder when we’ll finally get our act together, but He doesn’t. He loves us without complaint or hesitation.

The love of Christ also has two components. The first is the love to do us good which is what we see when Christ died in our place. Most of us are aware of this aspect of the love. But there is also the love of affection in Christ. Owen uses Isaiah 62:5 and points to the marital image. As the bridegroom rejoices in the bride, Christ rejoices in the beloved. He paused here to read several portions of the Song of Solomon (acknowledging that this book is primarily a poem celebrating marital love but also acknowledging that it works as an allegory of Christ’s love for the church). We are beautiful to Christ because He has made us beautiful. When He looks to us He sees His own impeccable righteousness with which He has covered us.

And finally he turned to the Holy Spirit. There is no text that says explicitly “The Holy Spirit loves you” but it is inferred. The main ministry of the Holy Spirit is to be a comforter and this is an expression of love. All of the blessings that come to us have been provided by the Father. The blessings are purchased through Jesus Christ and they come to us through the distribution of the Holy Spirit as the one who dispenses and applies them. All of these blessings come to us through the merit of Christ and through the administration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes to us even though He knows that we will be unthankful and unwilling. But in His love and tenderness He continues to do us good.

Bridges closed with this exhortation: “May God help us to learn to bask in His love and to have fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in their expressions of love to us.” Learn about how God loves us and allow that to transform your faith.