I owe you, my beloved readers, a post from the How Shall They Hear Conference that I attended over the weekend. I promise, that post is coming. But for now, in a word, I can say that the conference was AMAZING! I was nourished and nurtured as a preacher and religious leader and nudged to preach in a way that impacts the church so that the church can impact the world (my paraphrase of the conference mission). There were so many highlights, but in particular, my soul was stirred on Friday night, after Dr. Ralph Douglas West preached a powerful word: The Strenuous Life, we sang "I am Thine, O, Lord" as the invitational hymn.
I am thine, O Lord, I have heard thy voice,
and it told thy love to me;
but I long to rise in the arms of faith
and be closer drawn to thee.
Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to the cross where thou hast died.
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,
to thy precious, bleeding side.
Consecrate me now to thy service, Lord,
by the power of grace divine;
let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
and my will be lost in thine.
O the pure delight of a single hour
that before thy throne I spend,
when I kneel in prayer, and with thee, my God,
I commune as friend with friend!
There are depths of love that I cannot know
till I cross the narrow sea;
there are heights of joy that I may not reach
till I rest in peace with thee.
In all that we do as believers, and especially for me as a preacher os the Gospel, our proximity to God is of paramount importance. The nearer we are to God, as the hymn writer says, the more our wills get enveloped in the will of God. It is then that we can be assured that we a living out the Gospel with the authenticity in which Jesus lived the Gospel. As I think about it, Jesus—embodied/enfleshed God with us—modeled this very song to the point where with Calvary in his purview, He could say, "nevertheless not my will, but Thy will be done." Beloved, but I want to be that close to God, how about you?