SPEAKING MINISTRY: PURE LIFE MINISTRIES CONFERENCE 2020
Last fall, I felt the Lord directing me to read through the Book of Genesis. I had been studying the letters of Paul for quite some time at that point. But in obedience to the prompting, I started back in Genesis 1 and began to read through the book during my quiet time. When I came to the story of Noah, I had the distinct impression that there was a sermon in that story that I had never preached. Within a couple of days, I received the Pure Life Ministries Conference mailer for this year, and saw that the theme would be, “As in the Days of Noah.” I knew the Lord was going to birth that message that He placed in my heart and have me deliver it at the conference.
This year was supposed to be the first time the conference was going to be held at the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. There was a lot of excitement about this new, larger venue where the conference could expand, as we had outgrown our previous location. However, as the coronavirus swept through the world, and government regulations began to shut public attractions down, we got the email from Pastor Steve Gallagher that the Ark was closed, and they were praying about what to do. I was encouraged when I received correspondence that Pure Life had decided to still go forward with a four-session conference that would take place at the chapel of the residential program and be live-streamed free to the public.
I traveled down on Thursday for a half-day of prayer with the staff and some of the students. This is a meeting that I attend every year, and I feel that it is part of the process the Lord uses to prepare me for speaking. The richness of the worship and prayer, and the simple focus on Jesus is always refreshing. We called upon the Lord to move in people’s lives as they tuned into the conference that weekend.
Friday night, my wife and I tuned into the livestream to hear Brother Dave Leopold deliver a message called “The Ark of God’s Presence.” He spoke about the need for us to live in the presence of God. And he also talked about the role of suffering in the Christian life. One takeaway that really stuck with me was that God saved Daniel from the lions, but not the lion’s den. He also rescued Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego from the fire, but not the furnace. These men all had to be willing to enter into the suffering before they saw their deliverance. It was a powerful thought that we need to be prepared to go through difficult things in life.
On Saturday, I traveled back down to the program to be a part of the morning session. Pastor Steve Gallagher delivered a great message about the faith of Noah. He talked about how Noah’s faith set him apart from all others around him in a time much like ours, filled with selfishness and corruption. One thought that he shared was about how history has changed so much since the early 1900s. Before that time, things were so much simpler than they are today. With the escalation of technology and innovation, the world we live in looks very different compared to the first few thousand years of mankind’s existence. We truly are living in the last days, and he encouraged us to walk through these times in faith and the fear of the Lord, like Noah did.
The afternoon session was my opportunity to share the message the Lord had been stirring in me for months. I felt so clearly that the Lord wanted me to share the stories of Noah and Lot as a dichotomy of two different ways to live in a wicked and ungodly culture. As I dove into the studies for the message, the things that the Lord showed me really challenged me. I shared five principles of Noah’s life, compared them to Lot’s life and then applied them to us as Christians living in the end days. These five principles were:
Noah Stood Boldly for the Lord Amidst an Ungodly Culture
Noah Radically Obeyed the Lord Despite Ridicule
Noah Led His Family in Godliness
Noah’s Life was a Message of Righteousness
Noah Pleased God
The Bible calls Noah a preacher of righteousness, and I made the point that we are also called to live this way. However, Lot was not given this title. I shared about the choice that we all have, every day, to live a bold life for God like Noah did, or to live a passive life like Lot, devoid of any real impact in the world.
As soon as I finished preaching, I received correspondence from friends and graduates of the program who had tuned into the livestream, thanking me for the message. While it was sad not to be able to see them in person and have that time of fellowship that we enjoy annually, it was encouraging to know that people all around the country, and even the world, had taken the time to be with us via the internet. I was grateful for technology and how the Lord is using it during this season.
On Sunday morning, Brother Glenn Meldrum shared a strong message called “The Door is Shut.” It was a call for repentance and a clear picture of God’s mercy in light of the rebellion of mankind. One powerful thought that came out of the message was, “The greatest evil in humanity is the idea that we can do life without God.” There was a plead for people to return to the Lord while mercy is still being offered. But there will be a day when the door closes, and mercy is no longer extended. It was a sobering message to wrap up the conference.
I am so grateful to be a part of the Pure Life Ministries family. Anyone who knows me personally or follows my ministry already knows the deep ties that I have with the program. To be able to serve and give back to the ministry is an incredible privilege and honor.
You can watch the full message on our website by clicking here.
DUSTIN RENZ is the President of Make Way Ministries, a non-profit organization that exists to see the world changed one Christian at a time. He has a passion to see the Body of Christ find rich intimacy in their relationship with Jesus and step out in faith to share the Gospel with the world around them. He is the author of Pile of Masks: Exposing Christian Hypocrisy and Something Better. He resides in Dayton, Ohio with his wife and three daughters.