By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – During difficult times, Blake Newsom believes pastors should turn to God, seek His refreshment and ignore Satan’s temptation to give up.
“God is so gracious that even when we are being knuckle heads, even when we are doing right in our own eyes, when we call out to him He still refreshes and revives us,” said Newsom, pastor of Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama, during the 2018 E4 Preaching Conference Sept. 11. “Not because we’ve earned it but because He’s gracious.”
Citing Judges 13, Newsom recounted how Samson was a strong individual set apart by God for a divine purpose. Yet, Samson succumbed to worldly pleasures and eventually found himself in need of God’s deliverance. As a result, God returned his strength one final time before his death so he could defeat the Philistines.
Newsom said the account of Samson is a reminder that Christ followers should seek God’s guidance before making important decisions.
“We see in him a man who is familiar with what God wants but he does not care that God wants it,” he said. “How many of us in this room legitimately and regularly bring everything in our lives before God and say God I only want to do what you want me to do.
“If we would do that in our ministries our ministries might be a little different,” he continued. “Before we start any project say ‘God this looks good and seems right, but would you speak to me on this.’”
Not only does Samson’s story stress the need to seek God, but it also emphasizes the need for men of God to be a light in the culture.
“We are to lead our families,” Newsom said. “We are to teach them the things of God. We are not to have that outsourced to the church.
“As pastors we need to encourage parents not to outsource their family’s spirituality to us,” he continued. “We (as the church) need to invest in the fathers and make sure the fathers are investing in their families.”
Newsom said the church should get serious about equipping men with the tools and encouragement to create a strong discipleship program. Doing so could reap a great harvest inside churches, families and communities.
“Fathers, we need to get serious about being men of God,” he said. “And we need to get serious about leading men to be men of God. If you reach the father, you reach the family.”
Newsom cautioned the participants to be on guard because dark forces will always be fighting followers of God. The key to victory is joining together instead of fighting each other.
“Are we as the men of God called us to be are we going to stand up, sided by side, go after the enemy and fight him the way we are supposed to be?” he said. “There’s plenty out there. Let’s go fight for crying out loud.”
With sessions held at First Baptist Church in Pineville and Louisiana College, the September 11th E4 Preaching Conference presented a program intended to “exemplify, encourage, equip and empower our pastors to preach expositional sermons.”
Past speakers have included Steve Gaines, former SBC president and pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee, Don Wilton, pastor of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Fred Lowery, pastor emeritus of First Baptist Church in Bossier City; and David Uth, pastor of First Baptist Church in Orlando, Florida.
The conference also featured music by the First Baptist Pineville praise team and breakout sessions led by professors from Louisiana College, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Conference organizer Stewart Holloway told the Baptist Message the E4 Conference, now in its 10th year, began with a desire to sharpen and encourage pastors.
“I’m encouraged by the way our pastors have seen the need to be sharpened in their preaching,” Holloway said. “Our greatest calling is to preach. We need to be constantly refreshed in that task.”
The 2019 E4 Preaching Conference will be held September 24 at the First Baptist Pineville. Stephen Rummage, pastor of Bell Shoals Baptist Church in Brandon, Florida, will be the keynote speaker.