Urban Singles urged toward purity
RIDGECREST, N.C. (BP)--Single adults face the decision whether to live a life pleasing to God -- a choice embraced by attendees at the Urban Singles weekend at LifeWay Ridgecrest Conference Center.
The conference, sponsored by LifeWay Christian Resources' black church and ThreadsMedia areas and by Living Single in Faith, drew a multiracial group of singles from college age to mature adults.
Jason Hayes, LifeWay's young adult ministry specialist and opening speaker for the sessions at the North Carolina conference center, reminded the group to bring their best to God.
"We know that Malachi offered the Jews a huge rebuke for bringing less than their best as sacrifices," Hayes said. "He told them to stop bringing God less than their best, but they didn't. The result: 400 years of silence from God."
Noting that God is never changing but always relevant, Hayes said God is always worthy of worship.
"God is not a celebrity, but He is God of gods," he said. "We may celebrate the King of Pop and the King of Rock, but He is the King of Kings and He only is worthy of your praise."
Angela Scruggs, a doctoral student at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, led a breakout session during the April 22-25 conference on "Purity and Holiness."
"Purity usually makes us think of no sex before marriage," Scruggs said. "We know that. We have that part down. But purity is a lifestyle. It's all-encompassing, so much more than just abstinence."
Scruggs used the example of how clothes are cleaned in some Third World countries to describe how God can cleanse people.
"To clean the garments, women will take the clothes to the river, spread them out and beat on them or stomp on them to get the dirt and stains out," she said. "Sometimes it can feel like this when God gets the sin -- the dirt and stains -- out of our lives. It can hurt getting it out, but it feels so good to be clean."
Purity, Scoggins said, is reflected in lives free of gossip, anger, hatred, sexual immorality or anything that is displeasing to God.
"Purity is an inward issue," she said. "It's so much bigger than just avoiding sex. You can be abstinent and not be pure, but if you get the purity right, the abstinence won't even be an issue."
Ron Haskins, a certified life coach from Nashville, Tenn., led a breakout on "Discovering Your Vision Through Prayer."
"Your dream is what you see yourself to be," he said. "The vision gives you the blueprint to get you there. Your walk with God is what holds it all together. When God gives you a dream and a vision, it will come with a price. No one else can fulfill your dreams. You have to follow where God leads."
Haskins told conference participants, "You may choose your career, your spouse, your hobbies and many other parts of your life, but you don't get to choose your purpose. That only comes from God. That purpose is only revealed through an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ."
The conference cosponsor, Living Single in Faith, seeks to speak to single adults of all ages in the area of Christ-centered relationships and godly living. The organization's founder is Joann Scaife, Baptist collegiate ministry director at Tennessee State University and Fisk University in Nashville.
The 2012 Living Single in Faith conference will be May 26-28 at Ridgecrest Conference Center.
Polly House writes for LifeWay Christian Resources.