PRINCETON—The church today needs the presence of God more than they need anything else, Ronnie Sivells, pastor of Blue Spring Baptist Church in Princeton and former pastor at Southside Baptist Church, the host site of the West Kentucky Evangelism Conference, said.
Hundreds of pastors and laypeople across the western side of the commonwealth attended the 31st annual West Kentucky Evangelism Conference. The conference featured Sivells; Phil Hoskins, an evangelist from Tennessee; Herb Reavis, pastor of North Jax Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla.; and Fred Luter, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention and senior pastor of Franklin Avenue Baptist Church in New Orleans.
Music was led by Ron Green, former music minister at Southside under Sivells.
“We need the presence of God more than we need better methods. We need the presence of God more than we need better buildings. We need the presence of God more than we need larger congregations. We need the presence of God more than we need anything else on the face of the earth,” Sivells continued.
Drawing from Exodus 33:12-23, Sivells shared that the presence of God is a place of “grace, rest, fellowship, separation, intimacy and mercy.”
Sivells said he is discouraged when he sees “the people of God try to do the things of God in the flesh.”
“What God says to Moses He says to each of us in this service today: ‘There is a place by Me,'” he continued. “That”s where I want to be. The place by God where He manifests His presence above everything else. It”s better than any place that any of us could ever stand.”
Phil Hoskins delivered a sermon from Acts 2 titled “Gone with the Wind.”
“The early church literally set their world ablaze with the Gospel, but was the Holy Spirit that carried that fire,” Hoskins said.
He continued, “If the earlier followers of Jesus could not perform their work apart from the filling of the Holy Spirit, how much more the church today needs it.”
“Most Baptists have been to Calvary for pardon, but they have never been to Pentecost for power,” Hoskins said, quoting Adrian Rogers.
On the day of Pentecost, the wind of the Spirit carried away “cowardice in witness,” “coldness in worship,” “contention in the walk,” and “complacency in the work,” Hoskins said.
“I believe that the greatest need of the hour is for the Holy Spirit to breath a fresh breath of air across our lives and churches and ministries and, yes, our beloved nation,” he continued. “I believe when real revival comes and when the wind of the Holy Spirit is allowed to move among His people like that mighty rushing wind at Pentecost, ‘gone with the wind” will be those sins that hold back revival and the power of God in our lives.”
Luter preached from Matthew 26:36-46 on making decisions like Christ did.
“We all have decisions to make, and all choices have consequences. When you come to a crossroad and you have to make a decision, how do you decide what to do?” Luter asked. “You do what Jesus did.”
Jesus always consulted His Father. Luter pointed to the “sorrow of Jesus,” the “solitude of Jesus,” the “submission of Jesus,” and the “strength of Jesus.”
“Jesus took the time to talk with His Father, to pray, and that”s where His strength and boldness comes from,” Luter added.
In addition, Herb Reavis said the church should be “be governed by and grown by the Word,” he said.
“Do God”s work in God”s way for God”s glory, through the local church,” he challenged.
Attenders of the conference partnered with efforts to collect Bibles for pastors and Christians in Africa who do not have Bibles of their own. The West Kentucky Evangelism Conference is held annually at Southside Baptist Church in Princeton. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org. (WR)