A call to life of sobriety and intimacy with God in these end days.

Close to nine hundred people gathered at the Ark Encounter in April for Pure Life Ministries’ 23rd Annual Conference. The theme this year was “The World is Passing Away,” taken from 1 John 2:17. I’m amazed every year at how the Holy Spirit orchestrates every aspect of the conference. This was the first year that I preached the final plenary session, which gave me the opportunity to hear the other speakers share what God had put on their hearts before I preached. So much of what they shared lined up perfectly with what I planned to share. He is so faithful!

On Thursday night, I had the opportunity to emcee the Pre-Conference, which took place at Mount Olivet Church close to the Ark Encounter. Pastor Jeff and Rose Colon, leaders of the Lighthouse Church on the Rock in Dry Ridge, Kentucky, shared two messages from 2 Peter. They shared principles of growing in our faith and gave a clear call to make sure we are standing strong on the Word of God in the current culture. The final session was a Q and A with Jeff and Rose as well as Shawn and Susan Smith, which provided us with some very practical advice on marriage and parenting. It was a great beginning to the weekend.

Steve Gallagher shared the opening message on Friday morning, called “The Probationary Nature of Earth Life.” He painted a clear picture of the transitory and fallen nature of the world around us. His call to live in the secret place with God always stirs me to make sure prayer is a top priority in my life. The Lord has really used Pastor Steve’s ministry to impact my own view of a biblical concept of the world system. If you have not read his book, “Intoxicated With Babylon,” I would highly encourage it. You can watch an interview I did with him about it at this link.

Dave Leopold, from the Faith Homes in Zion, Illinois shared a message with the men called “Preparing for the Day of the Lord.” He challenged us to make sure that our eschatology is not focused on a specific timeline of end times events, but rather that we are walking in humility and intimacy with God. He said the preparedness of our hearts is of utmost importance. And he explained to us that when God calls us to live in humility, He is asking us to come down to where He already is. The lower we go, the better a revelation of the Lord we will have.

Ofer Amitai, Pastor of Pastor at El Roii Congregation in Jerusalem, spoke two messages. The first one was called “Bearing the Cross by Seeing the Christ.” He beautifully described the work of redemption that Christ made possible through His death and resurrection. He talked about the importance of dying to ourselves, but doing it with our focus on Jesus, not on our own effort. One thing that stuck out to me was when he said, “We don’t need to try harder, we need to die better.”

His second message was from Mark chapters 12-14, called “Giving Your All.” He explained that there was an intentional reason for placing the story of the widow’s mite at the end of chapter 12 and the anointing of Jesus at Bethany at the beginning of chapter 14 as bookends around Jesus’ explanation of the end times in Matthew 13. He shared that he believes that the Holy Spirit meant for us to see the importance of pouring out all for Jesus, whether we have much or little. The sacrifice of these two women is meant to be a challenge to each of us about the condition of our hearts in the end days.

The message that I shared was called, “Ready or Not,” and was actually given to me by the Lord many months before the conference. I had two specific messages on my heart back in October of last year as I prepared for a trip to Brazil. I was able to get one of them together for the trip, but the other one didn’t come together in time, although I felt compelled to preach it. I was on the balcony of Pure Life Brazil’s property, and I asked the Lord about that incomplete message. I felt Him speak to my heart, “That one is for the Pure Life Conference.” So, I spent the following months praying and preparing that message based on the Parable of the 12 Virgins for the conference.

In my message, I addressed three themes that I believe Jesus was speaking about in the parable: Preparation, Procrastination and Participation. I gave a strong call to live separate from the world system and to make practical, lifestyle-changing decisions in order to pursue holiness. At the end of the message, a burden for the American church came upon and I interceded for the Body of Christ in brokenness. The atmosphere was heavy, but the Lord touched many hearts. I had several thank me for being willing to stand up for the truth even when it is unpopular.

That night, we had the annual Alumni and Friends Banquet, and as always, the Lord touched my heart through the singing of the choir from the guys in the program. A powerful video testimony was shown of Frank Leonetti, who graduated from Pure Life over a decade ago and has had opportunities to travel the world sharing the Gospel. It is amazing to see what the Lord can do with a life that is surrendered to Him.

It was a blessing to see so many friends and to worship the Lord and be challenged by His Word together. The conference is always preceded and proceeded with spiritual warfare, but the Lord is faithful to bring us through. One man at the conference said he would pray for me because I was “attacking the enemy’s territory.” When the enemy comes to try to interfere with what God is doing, it is confirmation that I’m on the right path. I so appreciate all who are interceding for Make Way Ministries as we continue to walk through the doors that the Lord opens. Your prayers are more valuable that you could ever know.

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