President Troy Shoemaker took the stage Monday, February 18, welcoming friends, family, and guests from Pensacola and around the world to the 45th annual Bible Conference. Attendees from on campus and in the community gathered in the Crowne Centre to hear from men of God while viewers from places such as Washington, Missouri, Colorado, and Hawaii watched live via Livestream and Facebook Live.
To direct hearts toward God, the conference got underway with worshipful music, including selections from the new Rejoice Singers CD One Day.
“I definitely enjoyed the opening night of the Bible Conference, especially when the chamber ensemble sang ‘Behold, Our God,’” said Karina Anggara (Jr., Indonesia). “There has never been a moment in my life where I was so moved by a song in the way that I was that opening night. I believe that moment brought everyone to a heightened spirit of reverence to our Almighty God.”
Following prayer and worship, Dr. Shane Lewis (Bible ’92, M.A. Bible Exposition ’04) from Somerville Baptist Church in Alabama stepped up to the pulpit to deliver the night’s first sermon. Speaking from 1 John 4:10, he brought a message about God’s love titled “He Loves Me, He Loves Me, He Loves Me.”
“There is never a time that my God does not love me,” Dr. Lewis opened. “God doesn’t love us because we love Him. God’s love is not conditional based on our love for Him.”
After a brief break between services, Dr. Raymond Barber, who has served for over sixty years in roles such as pastor, seminary chancellor, evangelist, and author, delivered a challenge for listeners to trust God because He has a plan for every life.
“God has a robe of righteousness for you to wear, the righteousness of Jesus Christ,” Dr. Barber said. “God is not going to alter His robe to fit you. He’s going to alter you to fit His robe.”
The Bible Conference events continued Tuesday morning when Dr. Marc Monte (M.Min. ’07) of Faith Baptist Church in Indiana started a miniseries about the Passion Week of Christ, which he continued throughout the conference. Dr. Johnny Pope of Christchurch Baptist Fellowship in Texas followed with a message about the will of God.
The conference concluded Wednesday as each speaker presented one more message throughout the day, finishing with Dr. Pope’s evening sermon about spiritual warfare.
Throughout the three-day event, attendees had the chance to take a break from their busy schedules to focus their minds and hearts on God.
“Bible Conference is important because it gives us a time to sit back and just focus on God and how great He is,” said Justyn Nissly (Jr., IN). “No classes, no busy schedules, just you and the Lord listening to His Word.”
The time away from hectic, everyday life gave many the opportunity to be moved by God and to immerse themselves in His plan for their lives.
“One of the things I take away from every year is how refreshing Bible Conference is,” said Madison Rafael (Sr., NC). “It’s like I don’t even realize how much I needed it until it’s over. I want to heat up my life’s sunbeam to shine brighter for the Lord, and I can honestly say that Bible Conference has continually renewed that purpose.”