Thank You Al & Gloria
2014 Cedars of Lebanon Conference
“Firm in the Faith”
Lessons From AL & Gloria Baird,
Great lessons based on the scriptures are always challenging and inspiring. However, when we see them lived out in the lives of true heroes in the faith, they bring our faith to a whole new level. And that is what Al and Gloria Baird did in their lessons at the 2014 Cedars of Lebanon Conference, held on May 30.
By vulnerably sharing their lives and histories as disciples, combined with relevant and challenging scriptures, the Bairds helped us to claim our faith – in the past, the present and the future. We were reminded of how faith was formed in our individual lives, how it is deepened through the challenges and miracles we experience, and how God continues, and will continue to refine it throughout our lives. We were called to open our eyes, and to see how God has and is intervening in our lives. Even in the midst of struggles and pain, God continually runs ahead of us and takes care of us, before we even know it. And while our understanding of God’s plan is generally all in hindsight, this understanding helps us to grow and be refined continuously. As a final challenge, the Bairds called us remember that we are “being renewed day by day”, remembering that our “light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” We may be getting older physically, but our commitment to God should never weaken. Instead, our continued faith and service should be a higher call and an example to the future generations.
As we grow older, our call is to “rewire, not retire”, for it is our job to pass along our wisdom, experience, and faith to future generations. God is working on the next generation to continue his work, and our faith must stand firm, because our sons and daughters, and all future generations needs our faith to help build theirs. The Bairds reminded us that the test of the strength of any religious movement is whether or not it can successfully pass its mission and its faith along to the next generation. No matter what our challenges in the present day, we need to have a faith that stands firms throughout all our stages of life, and then becomes a higher call to the disciples who are raising up to carry on the mission.
In a particularly moving lesson to the women, Gloria Baird’s message was simple, but deeply inspiring. “You can waste many things in life, but don’t waste your pain.” As we go through our lives, we need to embrace the challenges and pain that God has chosen to give us, in order grow and be refined, and ultimately, to be the best we can be for God at every stage of our life.
In three simple points, Gloria encouraged the women to “Trust in God”, “Remember his Victories”, and “Be God’s Pitcher”. The ‘packages’ of our lives may change, but what doesn’t change is our need to trust God in every circumstance. Keeping God’s word and promises in view consistently will allow us to surrender all our circumstances to God, and to trust that he will use them to his glory. To maintain our faith, we need to remember the victories that he has given us throughout our lives as disciples, and to develop a list of ‘lifeline scriptures’ that will help us to hold fast to God. “…His love endures forever should be our battle cry – a cry that fits any circumstance.
Finally, Gloria reminded the women that we are to be God’s pitchers – filled up with what he has done to us and for us, and then pouring those things out to others in our congregations and in the world. By continuously sharing what we have learned and what we have been given, we bless those around us and fill them up with the grace and blessings that God has given us.
The Cedars of Lebanon Thank Mary Benton for her “write-up” coverage of the conference.
SUNDAY WORSHIP LESSON
Thanks For Your Comments
John and Eve – Thank you so much for your great efforts to make this Cedars Conference come alive. As this was Leann and my first, we were delighted, encouraged, strengthened and spiritually-fed with all reverence and praise to our God! We are blessed with so many new friendships that we know will be built by God into loving relationships that will glorify Him and His Kingdom as we spread the Gospel and reach out to serve. God bless you and all who made this such a great time of fellowship and learning (whatever glitches there may have been, we lived through them to God’s glory and were thoroughly enriched!). We return to Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand Church refreshed and engaged to help build God’s church! Come and See! Much love and respect to all.
YIC, Larry & Leann Whitley
Some Thoughts After the Cedars Conference:
Aside from the encouragement that I received from listening to Al and Gloria speak on Saturday, I came away feeling truly inspired, not so much by the preaching from God’s word which was in and of itself amazing, but by the fact that it was delivered by two servants of God who have been in the battle for 50 years or more, and are sill eager for another battle.
It seems that nowadays, we have redefined what respect means. When I look at All and Gloria, I have a new kind of respect-a respect that comes from watching two people share their heats and their lives, and offer an example of how we, as disciples, are called to live day by day.
I am deeply grateful for having been given that opportunity, at the Cedars Confeence on Saturday.