About the Conference
On a cold, first day of January, 1773, the pastor of a modest church in an out-of-the-way English village glanced through his upper study window toward the steeple where he had preached twice that day. My exercise of grace is faint, he penned in his journal, my consolations small, my heart is full of evil, my chief sensible burdens are, a wild ungoverned imagination, and a strange sinful backwardness to reading the Scriptures, and, to secret prayer. These have been my complaints for many years, and I have no less cause of complaint than formerly.
That morning he had preached a New Year’s message on David’s words,
Who am I, O LORD God, and what is mine house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And yet this was a small thing in thine eyes, O God; for thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come. . . (1 Chronicles 17:16-17).
From this text he had taken the theme, “Faith’s Review and Expectation.” Thou hast brought me hitherto—Faith’s Review. Thou hast also spoken of thy servant’s house for a great while to come—Faith’s Expectation.
Afterwards he wrote that he had felt his own heart sadly unaffected as he preached, and even dull when he returned for the evening service. Nevertheless, he acknowledged thankfully, This is the Ninth New Year’s day I have been in this place. I have reason to say, The Lord crowneth every year with his goodness.
Those entries are often the entire package when it comes to assessing oneself and one’s ministry. My exercise of grace is faint . . . but . . . I have reason to say, The Lord crowneth every year with his goodness.
An Incontestable Proposal
That pastor and journal writer was a former slaver named John Newton. You may be aware that it was that sermon which he recast into six stanzas of a hymn that now has been sung universally under the title, “Amazing Grace.” We nearly always glory in its words because they voice our own experiences as redeemed sinners. But actually, it was written as Newton surveyed God’s grace to him not merely as a redeemed sinner, but as an undeservedly favored preacher.
Amazingly Graced is truly the autobiography of every God-called preacher (and every preacher’s wife). No matter what his circumstances, ministry size, troubles, trials, deprivations, oppositions or persecutions, faith’s review confirms that he has been, most certainly, Amazingly Graced. Not merely in the ordinary ways common to all Christians, but in ways unique to his calling.
This sixth Whetstone Conference is being held to magnify that reviving proposition: that every God-called minister is Amazingly Graced in ways unique to his calling. Our speakers will explore scriptural confirmations of that truth, especially as it surfaces in the Divine favor we experience every week in studying, praying, teaching, preaching and pastoring. All too often we lose that blessed perspective, and the wheels of our ministerial rhythms turn slowly, heavily, unbearably listlessly. But if we have eyes to see it, we are Amazingly Graced by virtue of our privileged calling. Whetstone 2013 is designed to display that proposition brightly and refreshingly.
Our church folks feel privileged to be able to host this conference. They regard you as being among God’s choice servants. They’ll do all they can to make it possible for you to be here affordably. If the Lord will make it possible for you to get here, they’ll do their best to take care of you once you arrive. They’re excited to be able to provide your lodging, meals, babysitters, and whatever else you need in order to free you up to experience the blessings of the conference.
If you feel that the Lord would have you to come, please register here through our website or phone your reservation into the church office (864-233-1684). We’re praying that the Lord will provide for those whom He wishes to be here, and that together we’ll glorify Him for something that only preachers can—His amazing grace in putting us into the ministry and mercifully upholding us there.