Participants in the Transformed Hearts Conference Aug. 22-23 will lose any illusions they might carry about an easy path to true discipleship.
True discipleship of the kind Jesus commands of his disciples in Matt.16:24 to pick up their crosses to follow Him comes only after a heart is radically transformed by His power. A heart that has yet to fully delight in the Lord and in His purposes does not experience freedom in Christ and as a result the believer does not live with a focused passion for sharing the transforming power of God with others.
Teaching believers what it means to be a disciple of Christ, so they can then go forth and make disciples for Jesus Christ, is the goal of the Transformed Hearts Conference at Ridgecrest Conference Center. The conference is sponsored by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC).
Neal Eller, BSC Church Health Team Leader, said the conference is not for the “faint of heart” but for those who are ready to make serious, significant life changes to become fully-devoted followers of Jesus. Eller hopes the conference will help pastors return to their first love — their Savior and Lord Jesus Christ.
Pastors will be spurred toward confession and remembering that only God’s mercy and grace can penetrate a sinful heart and make it clean. “There’s nothing we can do unless the convicting power of the Holy Spirit is there among us,” Eller said.
Conference speaker Eric Geiger will address issues of identity that keep believers from claiming the promises of God and living in light of who they are as the redeemed of the Lord. “The enemy has effectively destroyed our understanding of who we are,” Geiger said. “He can’t rob who we are, but he can destroy our view of who we are.”
“Often I feel we attempt to live out the faith without a coherent sense of who we really are,” which “leads to a legalistic faith,” he said. When this happens, Christians start “checking off boxes of things to do” when instead, “faith should be a natural overflow of who he has made us,” Geiger said.
Geiger will use biblical images such as bride, friend, servant and ambassador to help restore a correct sense of identity. Specifically, Geiger will speak about believers as children of God and how as His children believers are loved with an unconditional, generous and purifying love. Geiger’s book Identity will be released in September and will focus on these images of who believers are in Christ.
Also speaking is John Trent, founder of The Center for Strong Families and author of HeartShift: The 2 degree difference that will change your heart, your home, and your health. Trent writes, “A HeartShift is the conviction that we’re on the wrong road and in need of making a turn back to better health, stronger relationships, or a deeper faith.”
Conference participants will be challenged to make 2-degree changes in different areas of life as they seek a deeper, more personal relationship with the Lord and a heart transformation.
Instead of trying to make a difficult 180-degree turnaround all at once from areas of temptation and struggle, Trent suggests that beginning with a 2-degree change is more likely to produce change. Trent describes a 2-degree change as “taking the smallest of positive steps, actions, or corrections to begin, sustain, or move us toward a needed change.”
“We’ve got so many things going on in our churches that we make discipleship a department or a class,” he said. The model for making disciples is an intentional leader who is willing to serve in a relational environment, Willis said.
The conference begins Aug. 22 at 4 p.m. and ends the next day at noon. Register at www.ncbaptist.org or for more conference information call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5636.