Some say the split sessions at the conferences do not have as much impact as the main sessions. I object. The split sessions offer more practicality and a more personal direction and depend less on emotional response. I place them in more or less equal importance as the main sessions. My main summary of the conference can be found here.
A little background: Bro. Reno Likins, before preaching a sermon on Tuesday, went into a matchmaking deal. He called up some of the single youth workers and chaperones that were guys and matched them with girls in the audience. I was pushed onstage, and I was matched with a lady named Genna.
I guess that's the IFB version of Christian Mingle?
Anyways, the following day at the split session, Bro. Dean Miller got me up front to ask me some probing questions about it.
"What was going in your head when you sat by Genna?" or something through that effect. The guy is hilarious, by the way. New favorite comedian preacher.
I said I prayed. And I did pray. But that's not the whole story. I chaperoned at this conference because the times I was at Shawnee YC and the Indian Creek Camp were some of the times where God's will was most clear to me. I'm a 20 year old in my senior year of secular college, and I have no/some idea what I will do afterwards. I have a record of past decisions, but my current situation and emotion makes me question.
Preachers always say that the one whom you will marry is the second most important decision after salvation. As much as I looked cool, confident, and debonair in the conference, I was terrified at the possibilities of what might happen next.
I'm not a Calvinist. I believe because there is free will, possible alternate universes/timelines (at least in the mind of God, not physically existing, mind you) where every decision except where God willed otherwise (that is, there are no universes or timelines where Jesus did not come down on Earth and was crucified and rose again, but there are timelines where I picked Reese's Puffs instead of oatmeal for breakfast). In that same vein, each girl that one might possibly marry represents a possibility, a new universe, a timeline, a possible will of God.
"Was she the prettiest girl you sat next to?"
No. (A gasp from the audience, probably one of her friends.) Probably not. Just being honest. Besides, I didn't have much time to study her.
I couldn't name top 5. I've sat next to some of the most beautiful girls. Some of whom have broken my heart.
All I could say was that she wasn't bad at all. She is beautiful in her own way.
After sitting down, he preached on Ruth. Or was it Esther? Probably Ruth. I didn't name the speakers in my sermon notes.
But what rang in my head was that the Holy Spirit and the Lord Jesus Christ speaking to me. I remembered the earlier sermon on Ephesus. I remembered how they lost their first love. I then remembered Bro. Miller speaking on falling asleep in God's will, and then waking to find his wife. Neat story.
"Fall in love with Me, first," He said.
"Fall in love with Me."
This thought is what rings in my head after all the sermons have almost been forgotten. And within that thought encapsulates my conference decision.
Actually, there's still more to it than that simplification.
Being in a secular college through a Christian college program called College Plus, I meet many, many good Christian girls. Good, yes, but most of them are not the strain of Baptist I was raised in. Some are non-denominational, Reformed, Baptist, all very good Christians and I'm very blessed to be one of their friends. I started to wish I could date/court a couple prospects, because I can't find any girls within my circles of fundamentalism.
Remember that part where each girl represents a possibility of the future, a possibility of God's will, a possibility of an alternate, parallel universe? With one girl I see myself being a rich scientist of a corporation or even an entrepreneur. With another, I see myself as a leader in a non-denominational missions organization. Others still represents the veins of political power or educational standing or high society.
What if I married one of these good Christian girls who are not the same exact faith as I have? If God wants me to be a Baptist preacher as I surrendered myself years ago at Indian Creek, then... they don't represent the future, the timeline, the will God wants for me.
And my heart aches, because I have to wait. But that thought still rings in my head.
"Fall in love with Me."
I pray I surrender to this thought every day.
Thank you, Bro. Miller. I know your questions were in jest.