Hello church family,
I apologize for not posting daily updates. The schedule this week was so packed that we’ve been returning home past midnight every night of the conference. Since we needed to rest, we decided to wait until the end of the conference to share our thoughts. Either way, thank you so much for your prayers and support for those of us in the SUMC team who have attended the 2019 Sing Conference in Nashville, TN! After a series of delayed flights and barely making transfer flights, we made it to the Airbnb we were staying at (Praise God!).
On the first official day, we attended the Hymn Sing concert; though this was an optional event before the main festivities that started on Monday, it was nothing short of amazing! We got to hear from several hymn-writers, who explained the process behind writing the hymns that we love to sing so much. Stuart Townend, one of these hymn-writers, shared about the modern hymn "In Christ Alone". He wrote this song as a narrative, which isn't common among hymns. Though children are accustomed to story songs, we as adults can easily lose sight of the wonder that is the Gospel story. We then had the privilege of having Joni Eareckson Tada lead us in hymns. She encouraged us with Psalm 119:50, which says, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.” She concluded the night with an encouraging and yet challenging statement. What she's looking forward to even more than a glorified body is a glorified heart that isn't tainted or distracted by sin. Tada has been a massive encouragement to believers who experience hardship in this life. Let’s grow in our love for the Lord, so that we can treasure Christ above our circumstances!
The theme of the conference was the life of Christ, and the days were divided to cover the incarnation, the resurrection, and the Great Commission. John MacArthur preached on Matthew 27:45-54, which is the crucifixion account. He taught us that God the Father, without saying a word, demonstrated that Christ’s sacrifice was enough to satisfy His wrath upon sin. He explained the “Day of the Lord” and connected it to Old Testament prophecy. When God tore the curtain of the temple, He demonstrated His satisfaction with Christ’s sacrifice by ending the sacrificial system that the Jews practiced. Christ’s resurrection established the new covenant, and is the reason that we must sing praises to God.
Throughout the conference, we split off into breakout sessions to learn specific topics. One of the sessions I attended was hosted by Tim Challies, titled “Singing and the Art of Godliness”. He exposited on Colossians 3:16, which states, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” The main point is that we as the church must sing to God and to one another. In order for the word of Christ to dwell richly in us, we need to believe in a substantially rich Gospel. We sing to God because He sent Christ to die for unworthy sinners like us! He shared a personal story about the encouragement he received by listening to his congregation sing and being reminded of biblical truths after a difficult week. When we sing to one another, we affirm the truths of God’s Word and encourage one another with God’s Word.
Singing matters to God because our songs are an overflow of what’s in our hearts. My favorite part about this conference was singing heartily alongside thousands of like-minded believers; I felt as though I had a foretaste of heaven when all the saints worship and enjoy the Lord forever! I encourage us to be in the Word and grow in our love for God, so that the word of Christ can dwell richly in us. There’s so much that I can say regarding this conference, so feel free to speak with any of the attendees to learn more. Esther will share her thoughts from the conference as well, so stay tuned.
The conference is over, but we can still be praying that this conference makes a long-term impact on our church:
1. Pray that we, as a church, continue to grow in the Word. When we do that, we can further appreciate the songs we sing that are rich in God’s Word. Sing to God and to one another!
2. The SUMC desires to take back what we’ve learned from the conference to better serve you, the congregation. Pray that we improve as a music ministry in teaching and encouraging the church with the word of the Lord.
3. Pray for Elder Peter to have wisdom and discernment in his leadership of the SUMC ministry. Pray that he can take the ministry in a direction that best honors the Lord.