I have had a lot of time to think about last month’s vacation to Wisconsin and Northern Pines. (1) There are a few things from the week that I keep coming back to, the people and the experiences. Let me just say that I cannot thank everyone behind the scenes enough for doing everything they can to make these the things I most remember. This year I got to be a small part of the behind the scenes help and let’s just say I am more amazed of the work that Dean & Julie Jaderston do all year round making sure Northern Pines goes the way that God has planned it.
This past year was the 40th Anniversary of Northern Pines. They started at Lake Geneva in Wisconsin, outgrew that within the last 10 years and hope to fill Green Lake Conference Center within the next few years. I hope I am around to see that. Northern Pines also has a Board of Directors that arranges speakers, calls conferees, and just prays for everything that is involved with these two weeks each summer.
The teaching for the week was outstanding. What an honor to listen to the minds and lessons of Bill Crawford from Water’s Edge Church (2) in El Segundo, California, Bob Botsford from Horizon Christian Fellowship (3) in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and Dr. Stanley Toussaint from Dallas Theological Seminary (4). All were great speakers but I was honored and moved most by Dr. Toussaint.
Stan and his wife Max were the two nicest people you would ever want to meet. I had an instant connection with Max as she grew up a Cardinals fan with her many brothers in a small town in Arkansas. Something about them just connected with me. Every time Stan spoke to the group he started with a ‘parrot joke’. Usually each one ended with the parrot getting its owner in trouble. I am sure he has told these jokes hundreds of times in his life but he made it feel like he was speaking directly to you. Even when he told you ‘That dog won’t hunt, that horn won’t honk’ or my favorite ‘TAI’. TAI stands for Think About It. Such a simple phrase that is so impactful on so many levels. TAI.
I think Dr. Toussaint was passing on some knowledge to people who he knew may have never heard him speak as well as using that week as a reminder to all those Christians out there. He reminded us that a spiritual life is a kind of life that produces spiritual maturity. That the spiritual life is not just there, it has to be gradually developed. Christians need to well balance themselves in their walk with Christ and that their maturity process is never over. Christians know we are not perfect so we need to show others that by the grace of Jesus Christ we are saved. He also reminded us that we need to do our best to flee immorality. This will help us lead by example.
Stan’s final message to us was that listening to God is the most important thing we do. Faith always involves getting the information, making the mental decision, and trusting in God. These rules of faith are covered in the Bible.
Northern Pines does its best to feed the needs of Christians who come and gather each year in Wisconsin. I would miss the time with my friends that I continue to make each year. It is also nice to have God speak to you thru speakers that you may not know. I was honored this year to hear a legend. The best thing is that he was the nicest guy and a Godly example of the complete Christian life. Don’t you wish you could be thought of like that? TAI