2021 Southeast CC Pastors’ Conference
2021 Southeast CC Pastors’ Conference

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Third and Final Day: 2021 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ Conference

Story and photos by Tom Price

Wednesday, February 17, was the final day of the 2021 Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastors’ conference, held at Calvary Chapel Merritt Island, FL.

Pastor Kent Nottingham of Calvary Chapel Tallahassee, FL, again led off the day with devotions. He quoted Luke 18:1, where The Bible says that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Kent spoke of a persevering prayer, which is praying without faltering when you don’t initially see the answers to your prayer. He asked how many people give up when they have prayed for a situation for a long time and stop seeking the Lord when they don’t see any movement.

John Spencer of Coastline Calvary Chapel in Gulf Breeze, FL, spoke from 2 Corinthians 4:16-17. Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day (v. 16).

Pastor John Spencer teaching

Pastor John Spencer of Coastline Calvary Chapel in Gulf Breeze, FL, encouraged the brethren to not lose heart, even in these unprecedented times. John planted the church in 1983.

John stated, “Great men aren’t born great, they are made great through persecution and trial.” He emphasized how the Lord can make up the years eaten by the locust, even if there were rebellious or selfish years. One needs to ask God for restoration, hanging onto His promises, by repentance and forgiveness. So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied and praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you; and My people shall never be put to shame. (Joel 2:25,26)

“How are the locust years restored?” John asked. The locust years are restored to those who recognize their need for mercy,” he responded. God can and will restore the fruitless and Christless years and past decisions we regret if we ask.

Woman crying and man clapping

After a year of COVID-induced shutdowns, participants were moved to tears of joy as they worshiped the Lord.

Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel Bangor in Central Maine began the last session of the conference with a touching poem he wrote from Simon Peter’s perspective of the suffering and rejection of his Savior. Since Ken is known for not having “feelings,” as he freely admits, it was surmised that the tears flowing from his eyes afterwards were caused by particles in the air.

Ken encouraged the pastors to embrace the persecution that is to come.

Taking the congregation back to the familiar story dubbed “The Good Samaritan,” Ken emphasized that it cost the Samaritan man plenty. Even if he didn’t “feel” heartache for the beaten man left for dead, the Samaritan’s actions were what counted. What kept the man from dying from the infections from the beating was the wine (antiseptic) the Samaritan poured onto the man’s wounds. Likewise, Christian leaders are not to forgo the antiseptic of God’s Word just because it is going to hurt and sting.

Pastor Ken Graves with photo of his wife

Pastor Ken Graves of Calvary Chapel Bangor in Central Maine projected a photo of his wife, Jeannette, back when they first met.

He borrowed a quote from Pastor Sandy Adams of Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA, which he used to hearten the Bible teachers, “Let us not pull the teeth out from the text that God intends to bite with.” Ken added, “You cannot ‘feel’ your way into right living, but you can live your way through right actions. It was the Samaritan’s deeds that saved the man’s life, not his pity."

The pastor from Maine admitted that forgiving someone who has hurt a person close to him has been his greatest struggle. One cannot wait for their emotions to “feel” forgiveness but rather to act on what one knows is required from the Lord. Ken joked that he always had to do the second thing that comes to his mind; his first reactive response would typically put him in jail. Many people are infected with unforgiveness; to forgive and love their enemies is a challenge. We are not to lean on or wait on our emotions to change before we can extend forgiveness to those who have hurt us.

Ken encouraged the crowd to trust God completely, remembering our King and our commission.

Let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9

Group prayer

Speaking last, Pastor Ken Graves asked the congregants to pray for one another.

 

Elders fellowship

Calvary Chapel Merritt Island Assistant Pastor Howard Davies prays with a woman at the end of the conference. Howard was one of the first to share the Gospel with Malcolm Wild in England back in the '60s. Years later Malcolm invited Howard to join him in the ministry in Florida.

 

Woman holding shoulder of other woman

Congregants encouraged one another in prayer at the end of the conference.

 

Woman looking up in worship

Many of those attending showed their emotions after a time of prayer.

 

Pastor Malcolm Wild teaching

Pastor Malcolm Wild, whose church hosted the event, enjoys joining in with the worship team on the last day of the conference. Malcolm and his lifelong friend, Alwyn Wall, formed a popular Christian musical group who were frequent guests at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in the 1970s.

 

Woman worshiping

Joy abounded during the conference as people were free to sing and worship.

 

Crowd worship

Some attendees came from other regions where churches are still limited because of the pandemic, so many found great joy in simply worshiping the Lord Jesus openly.

 

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2020 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.

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