My wife, Brittany, and I had our first desert experience last weekend. Not a spiritual desert, but a physical one on our trip to El Paso, Texas. The scenery was everything you might expect. Lots of red sand, cacti, tumbleweeds, and we were informed there were also rattlesnakes, tarantulas and scorpions (which we were fortunate not to encounter). We packed a lot into the short two-day trip. We teamed up with Pure Life Ministries and Cielo Vista Church to put on the Set Apart Conference.
One of the greatest blessings of being able to travel around the U.S. as well as overseas is having an opportunity to fellowship with the Body of Christ in other places. There is something so unique and special about being with other believers. The short time we had with this great church was memorable and we felt it a great privilege to minister to their congregation.
On Friday night, I gave a sober message called “Set Apart from the World.” In the sermon, I described the world system and the great predicament in which many in the church find themselves, having allowed the world to have a dominant place in their hearts. We talked about practical separation and how we need to be careful to close the door to the world in our lives. It was a strong warning, but many came to me over the weekend to thank me for it. I believe the Lord will continue to do a great work in those whose hearts were open to receive what the Lord had for them.
The following morning, Brittany and I shared our story with the crowd of around 350 people. It was the first time we were both able to share as a couple with a church other than our own, so it had a special significance for both of us. As always, it was an emotional experience, but we have continually seen the Lord using our story to touch lives! Many came to thank us for our transparency and we had a chance to minister to and pray for several people.
After that session, we split the men and women in two groups. I gave a purity talk to the men, addressing the topic of lust and how to break its power in a message called, “Set Apart in Purity.” Brittany and the women’s ministry director, Lori Adams, shared with the women, providing instruction for those who are struggling with sin themselves and also for the wives of husbands in sin.
For the final session, we all came back together, and I preached “Set Apart Through Repentance.” We went through the Beatitudes as we talked about a truly repentant heart. We touched on many important elements of repentance, such as humility, forgiveness, meekness and mercy. As we closed the conference, many responded to the altar call given. We believe the Lord did a great work and will continue to move in the lives of the people of Cielo Vista Church. All glory to the Lord for what He accomplished over the weekend!
We are so grateful for the opportunity that the Lord provided for us to minister in El Paso. It is not something we take lightly. So much prayer, preparation and organization go into these types of events. But when people come and share what the Lord is speaking to their hearts through the ministry, it makes it all worth it. Thank you to all of our supporters who were praying for us along the way. We know it would not have been the conference that it was without the prayer partners who were standing with us in faith.