Saturday, September 30, 2006

DG Session #3: “How Do we Do Evangelism in a Post-Modern World?” (Tim Keller)

The Crisis in Post-Modernism

Lloyd-Jones did a series of lectures on revival in 1959. The first lecture is on Mark 9. “This kind only comes out with prayer” MLJ said that the demon was in too deep for ordinary application. The Doctor allegorizes and says the 12 were like the church and boy is the contemporary world. The spirit of this age is not like 100 years ago. The problem of this age is not apathy, but deeper than that.

The world is an ex-Christian mission field… the culture is inoculated. They have a little bit of the disease, but they cannot get the real thing.

After 1500 AD, all evangelism was, was a program – people believed in God, they had a Christian conscience and even though not saved this foundation was in place. It no longer works to say God, man, Christ, grace.

The demon is in too deep. The Christian background is gone.

There remains “Christ-haunted” pockets I the US culture, but these are smaller and smaller. They are traditional. They are losing influence.

What does this mean? The older evangelism bullets have lost their power. Billy Graham. Personal relational evangelism. Seeker-service. (Twenty-somethings are turning away from “traditional” seeker services.) The only magic bullet that people are looking to is the Alpha Program. It is communal and a process so it works better, putting aside some of the content.

We need a transformation of our personality and theology.(?)

Today: all truth claims are seen as power trips. There is a guilt problem – most presentations assume a consciousness of guilt. Postmodernism does not assume this. Pomo does not believe in words or texts to get meaning across. A meaning problem.

6 Points on an Approach to Do Evangelism

I want to look at Jonah.

1. Gospel theologizing

1:1 “the word of the Lord came to Jonah saying go and preach” I used to think of the Gospel as the Gerber of the Bible. All theology must be an exposition of the Gospel. You cannot separate gospel and theology.

People will not accept the preaching of the Word from a text because the text is not firm. An eternally happy God, though, gives of Himself to Himself – a sacrificial orientation. God does not need glory and adoration – this is within the Trinity. God does not create to get, but to spread the delight He has in Himself. How do you get? Through a word. When God speaks, it almost always gospel. Human language is the vehicle through which god speaks.

In a pomo society, where abstract speculation is not believed. Every loci of theology has to be an explanation of the Gospel. We need to work on our Gospel presentations. I have not seen a Gospel presentation yet, that addresses pomo people. The old versions had systematic theology, but not biblical theology. There was no story arc. They were almost consumeristic presentations. That is why Lordship issues arrived.

Go to the emerging church – all the emphasis is on the Kingdom of God. It is all done corporately. But you lose the emphasis on grace versus works. You lose penal substitutionary atonement. It ends up being a kind of liberal legalism. It is going to take our best theological thinking to merge systematic and biblical theology to come up with a simple gospel presentation.

2. Gospel realizing

Jonah 2:9 “salvation is of the Lord.” Ed Clowney says this is the central verse of the Bible. It is of the Lord. Jonah knew this, but did not know this! If you think you understand the Gospel – you don’t. If you think you don’t understand the basics of the gospel – you do.

Religion – I obey and I am accepted.

Christianity – I am accepted by Christ’s finished work therefore I obey

If salvation is by grace, there is nothing Christ cannot ask of me.

The fault mode of all our hearts is that we are trying to save our self by something we do. We are being justified by power or how well our kids are turning out, etc. Pastors can feel justified by their ministry.

Revivals are not programs. Revival is when corporately the pennies drop and the wonder of the Gospel and the implications of the gospel are recaptured.

3. Gospel urbanizing

Jonah “the great city Ninevah” “Should I not love this great city?” How in the world could Jonah not love so many lost people. Going to cities is strategic. Some mght say: If I go to the city to be a part of things, I will be ruined like Lot. I need to be in the country like Abraham.” Jeremiah 29 God said go in the city and bless the city – shalom it. Paul went to the cities. Historically, the Christians were the urbanites. As the city goes, so goes the culture. We need Christians and churches where there are people – but we need churches in the city.

David Brooks: “Bobo’s in _________”

4. Gospel communication formation incarnation

I believe in progressive communication. Think of Jonah 3:4. By 3:9, the king wonders if God will be gracious.

Intelligibility – worldview evangelism… see Acts 17. Paul lays out a biblical view of God and history and creates a Christian worldview. If your worldview is whatever works for you is truth, then they hear things like “Christ is the Truth” through that worldview. There needs to be a power encounter at worldview level.

Credibility – apologetics. A defeater is what makes “belief B” impossible. If things that contradict the Gospel are not attacked then they will not hear truth claims clearly. How do respond to statement: “All religions are equally valid.” The Six Men from Indostan… all grasp part of the elephant, but none see the whole. You can only tell this story if you see the entire elephant. You cannot say all religions have part of the truth unless you claim the superior knowledge that you alone know the whole Truth – you see the whole elephant. You are being exclusive. You are being just as exclusive as I am. You have to show the defeaters don’t work on their own times. These defeater beliefs are still in the mind of many – we need to expose them.

Plausibility – In the first two, you are showing what the non-negotiables of the gospel are. Now you are getting into their aspirations and hopes. This is contextualization. It sounds like you are adapting the gospel to what people want to hear. No, you are trying to show that the truth is contemporarily relevant. Who’s exclusive views lead to peace on the earth? At the heart of my beliefs is a man dying for his enemies. Is a gospel that humbles me before everyone else.


5. Gospel formation

God brings life out of death. An example of how Christ is sustaining us in weakness can give much credibility. You know you have met God when you limp – MLJ. “I don’t think he’s been humbled yet.” You don’t believe it in the depths of your being yet. You are not a strength out of weakness person. You are not a sign yet.

He quoted Newton’s great hymn: “I asked the Lord that I might grow.”

6. Gospel Incarnation

I believe Jonah is a set up for Jeremiah 29. God was getting them ready for another period of time. A time when they would do good to Babylon. They said to Jonah something like, “Use your private religion for some public good!” “You are so selfish you can sleep when we need to be loved.”

God puts Jonah on a boat with dirty pagans. The only way for Jonah to save the pagans is to sacrifice himself. Jonah went to the city but did not love them.

If you are Calvinist, faith is a gift. It is crucial for non-Christians to hear us talk about how we did not believe. We need to love them. We need to be the kind of the church the world does not rebuke. Do we press our value and heart into the city.

How do you get that kind of courage and love?

There was another sleeper in the storm. Jesus is awakened by the cry, “Lord, don’t you care?” There is one difference. Jesus is thrown into the real storm, the ultimate storm. He did this. See Psalm 22.

MLJ: We don’t need programs, we need revival that comes by prayer.

Are you insulting your Maker by your low expectations of evangelism in your neighborhood?

Pictures of the Amazing Meeting!

Adrian's Blog

I like to make fun of Challies' celebrity status. I consider it a ministry of mine to keep him humble...
So, unbeknownst to me, the sly dog organized a little retribution with the help of Annette from Adrian Warnock's blog. You can see the shots here... but I had to think I looked a little like Josh Harris in the last shot. Sorry, Josh. Of course, being 9 feet taller than Josh kind of rules out any real similarities!

DG: Session #2 (Friday Morning - Voddie Bauchum)

We had a nice breakfast with Justin Taylor this morning. Well, it was hardly a breakfast as there was very little food involved, but the time with JT was a treat. Justin is a very humble and gracious man.

Psalm 43 was read to begin worship, then we sung. Come Now Almighty King, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, May the Mind of Christ My Saviour… and some other choruses of which I was unfamiliar.

Voddie Baucham

“The Supremacy of Christ and Truth in a Postmodern World”

It is an honor to be here – but a little odd. There is Dr. Carson, and I quote him all the time. “Lord give me grace to stand up, speak up and shut up and do it quickly.”

If you know post-modern epistemology, you know that this idea of truth is a difficult thing. Post-modernism is not supreme in this world – Christ is. All day everyday and twice on Sunday, Christ wins – not post-modernism!

There is Christian theism on the one hand. Post-modern secular humanism is on the other side. I want to set these two world views up then examine them in light of the Scriptures.

I want to look at them categorically – how they answer questions of God, knowledge, ethics, etc

Theism says there is a God who is a necessary intelligent Being. Pomo secular humanism says there is no God – man is the starting point.

Theism – man is made in image of God. Humanism says man is an accident.

Truth is absolute. Truth is only known by knowing this closed system of nature (naturalistic materialism). Spong suggest we need to move toward a non-theistic view of God – we should evolve to this!

Ethics are absolute. Ethics are cultural and negotiable. To the point that some would suggest Hitler was not unethical!

How does this work out in real life. How do we address the issue of Truth?

Every human will ask these 4 basic questions:

1.Who am I?

2. Why am I here?

3. What is wrong with the world?

4. How can what is wrong be made right?

It is the soul of every man to wrestle with these questions. The idea of a world that cannot be made right is unthinkable.

Let me answer these questions from the perspective of pomo secular humanism.

  1. You are nothing – an accident – a glorified ape. No rhyme, reason or purpose.
  2. To consume and enjoy. Get all you can, can all you get and sit on the can.

If you put these two together, all that matters is if you are more powerful than me. I will take from you what I need for my own satisfaction. Social Darwinism. What the Nazi’s did with Jews is what we do with children in the womb – so don’t look down on them. This deformed child will hinder your ability to consume and enjoy. You are old and feeble – you have a duty to die.

  1. People are insufficiently educated or governed. They don’t know enough or they are not being watched enough.
  2. More education and more government.

Educate a sinner and they become a more sophisticated sinner. Who governs the governors? Secular humanism has no answers.

How do we respond? Colossians 1.

1. Col 1:15 – Who am I? The text does not start with “you are” but “He is.” This is because of the supremacy of Christ. He is the picture in human flesh of God – the Almighty. He is the creator of all things. This hearkens back to John 1:1, then Genesis 1:1. “I am the crowning glory of the creation of God.” Psalm 139 – I was knit together in my mother’s womb. I have inherent dignity and worth because I am made in the image of God. Christian theism cannot comprehend racism and eugenics. It’s okay you are not black like me – God loves you just as you are! [laugher and applause].

How do you respond to cultures that claim Christ and practice slavery? Narrative is not normative. It stopped! What drove this? The supremacy of Christ! Secular humanism cannot grasp this truth. But we cannot escape this Truth.

I spent much of life wondering why? My mom was 17 when she became pregnant with me. I was raised in the projects of south central of LA. 24 was the average life expectancy of a young, black male. But I am the crowning glory of the creation by virtue of the fact that He made me.

2. Why am I here? We have houses that are larger than ever before and families that are smaller than ever before. Children cost too much! That is secular humanism.

Col 1:16-18. I am here to bring glory and honour to the Lord Jesus Christ. That is why we exist. He is to have supremacy and preeminence in all things. I am not here to consume and enjoy. God is not against you having things – He is against things having you. We need to have a keen eye toward seeing the way God has put us together – or how he has put our kids together – so that we can find how to squeeze out of us what brings the most glory to God. Why did you choose your last job? The supremacy of Christ or the paycheque? Pastor – how did you choose your current church?

3. What is wrong with the world? Col 1: “You” are what is wrong with the world! I mean, me too, but mostly you! If God is so good and powerful why does bad stuff happen?” This is not the proper way to ask the question. You need to say, “How on earth can a holy and righteous God know what I did and thought yesterday and not kill me in my sleep? You believe the problem is out there, but you have it wrong. Why does your judgment tarry God? Ask it the other way and you believe in the supremacy of man. The real problem is that I do not acknowledge the supremacy of Christ. I believe in the supremacy of me and truth. I want a God who is omnipotent but not sovereign. I want to wield His power.

4. How can what is wrong be made right? Col 1:22. “Yet” – what a wonderful word! “If” we continue steadfast in the faith. The penal substitutionary atonement of Christ can make things right. Second, this is the only thing that can make things right. There is no other way for men to be saved and justified. Every other religion says, have a religious experience then work really hard to do more good things than bad and hope for the best. Tehre is no certainty or security.

I never heard the Gospel until I went to college. My mom was a practicing Buddhist! But, I can’t be good – I am incapable of it. I am totally and radically depraved. Even the good things that I do come from wrong motives. Second problem – what about all the bad things I did before my religious ecperience? The only solution is Jesus and His atoning sacrifice.

How could God not crush the sinning Abraham or Moses or David? Because He crushed His own Son instead. Was Jesus’ work enough for the sin of these men? The sin of me? Nothing else could have been done that allowed God to be both just and the justifier. Nothing can wash me white as snow but the blood of Jesus. Sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains. The spotless and sinless Lamb of God paid a debt He did not know for sinners who could never pay him back.

When you juxtapose these two worldviews and something happens.

On the one hand, man is worthless and pointless. On the other, you are precious, you have a purpose, but you are powerless, but its okay, because you were purchased! This is the supremacy of Christ in truth in a postmodern world.

We possess the answer and we are possessed by the answer. Christ! Our culture does not give answers that satisfy. Christ is the only thing that will satisfy. We preach Jesus and Him crucified. I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe. Let us embrace this and proclaim this – passionately.

[You need to download this message and listen to it!]

DG: A Conversation with Pastors Hosted by Justin Taylor

(John Piper, Mark Driscoll and Tim Keller)

Justin Taylor: In postmodern culture, John, what did studying the commands of Christ do for your soul?

Piper: A devastating thing to submit yourself to the 500 imperatives of Jesus in the Gospels. He is always pressing deep. 11 weeks of having my heart exposed. Then clamoring for the second impression of the offerings of mercy for the sinner. Desolation and hope. The personal effect was to intensify my desire to be in the face of a post-modern world with the power of Jesus Christ.

There is so much mealy-mouthed hesitancy to preach righteousness.

JT: The relationship of Christianity to culture is the current crisis point of the church. Can you explain the Biblical way to influence culture.

Keller: Niebuhr’s book lays out five approaches – maybe there are two ways to do each one of them. Bethlehem Baptist Church is an alternate city, to show Minneapolis what it could look like. But somehow there has to be some kind of service to the community – serving the needs of your community. We want to make this city good for everyone. Care for poor, etc.

JT: Mark, you go to concerts, comedy shows, etc – John, you don’t. How do you stay relevant by avoiding pop culture and Mark how do you stay faithful in being in it.

Driscoll: The two problems are syncretism and sectarianism. Be with the people in this world but with Him – tethered to Him through His Word. Relevant orthodoxy is our goal. As missionaries, how do we incarnate into these cultures? Jesus was in culture, never went too far…

JT: John, are you relevant?

JP: I don’t know.

Is the target common? I think I am weak and would fall if I plunged into culture.

There are common denominators: everyone will die; everyone loves authenticity; people like to have issues resolved; I need to understand how John Piper ticks; then figure out how to work on that; study advertisers since they are the ones who know the culture.

Emerging Church Conversation and Movement:

JT: John Piper – you met with Tony Jones and Doug Pagitt. Can you tell it about this?

JP: Do you always precede lunch invitations by calling someone “smartass?”

JT: I think Mark is rubbing off on you.

JP: I like these guys, because they are both hotheads and I am too. My root sense is that committed relationships trump Truth. They may not like that. There are profound epistemological differences that make the conversation almost impossible. How profitable is it to press on with this when worldview is so different? Ways of knowing are so different – so that I cannot really state where they are. We don’t try to get agreement here. Getting agreement on the nature of atonement is not an issue to them – so I do not know where to go with them?

JT: Mark, you have been in both worlds and going from being a travel partner to McClaren to being here.

MD: I met a girl and she gave me a bible. I read Augustine in college and found out I was a sinner, God saved me, Grace married me, I planted a church with 10 guys committed to anarchy. Leadership Network called me in to speak to a pastor’s conference nearly 10 years ago. Then I started traveling with Doug Pagitt and the team of preachers. I was on a reformed trajectory, but I was not representing myself or my side well. I broke off very early on.

JT: Tim, is the emergent church going to be a footnote or a chapter in the history of the church?

TK: If you define evangelicalism in a John Stott kind of way, the seeker movement is inside evangelicalism. The emergent church is moving away from orthodoxy. In places like Yale, there is a post-liberal emphasis on the text that shows a distinction from old liberalism. This emergent group is really much like this group. Emergent will never really grow as they will not plant churches or build colleges. They may produce some writers… but that is probably about all.

JT: Is emergent growing?

TK: It is producing pundits, but not community and institutions.

JT: The two hottest theologies are reformed and emergent. Mark, why are these rockers listening to Keller and Piper?

MD: Grudem’s systematic. Mahaney’s non-cessationism. Keller’s urban missional engagement. Piper’s passion and emphasis on supremacy of Christ. These things are drawing young men.

JT: John, foreign missions are often forgotten in conferences like this. Are you concerned that foreign work is being forgotten.

JP: I don’t know since I do not see evidence. The great commission is no where near finished. Muslims and others are hostile and difficult to reach. We need to go there! Are we raising up an army to go?

The seeker sensitive way is having a trickle-down effect in missions in a harmful way. There is a fear of not succeeding. So, foreign missions can be undermined when you go with a compromised message – or a contextualized message that abandons Christ.

There is no radical Jesus without hell. What emergent is doing is what they say we are doing: “domesticating Jesus!”

JT: When you see street preachers, why don’t we do that?

JP: I don’t know of any places where Paul was going to work. Synagogues, or Aereopagus, etc. Why not ask for 15 minutes to speak of Jesus in the mosque. Then Paul got run out. Generally there is some kind of suffering. Then he left behind some believers.

JT: How is Acts a model for us in going to the cities. None of us are going to get stoned tonight. Are we doing something wrong?

TK: Paul did a lot of public speaking in a lot of different settings. Hall of Tyranus. Public proclamation can be done. You need a team of people around you. Kuyper says that all systems of thought take a good thing and make it an ultimate thing and then it never delivers what they hope.

Paul did not preach expositorily in Acts (although I love expository preaching) but he grabbed hold of something and worked it.

JT: Christians in the workplace – how should they think about their vocation. Secret Christian… then the guy who leaves tracts in the bathroom.

TK: Let the Gospel shape the way you work. [this was a much longer answer]

JT: Any books you are working on or you would like to recommend?

MD: Rodney Stark has a new book in November called Cities of God. Historical missiology book. Books on cross, hell, roles, etc with a desire to reach younger crowd.

JP: I am working on Andrew Fuller for Pastor’s Conference. I just read a letter of his to John Thomas – had terrible mood swings and depression. He recounts his own battles. He said, “John Owen saved his life.”

Tell us Justin, about the book you are working on.

JT: Overcoming Sin and Temptation – it will be out in a couple of weeks.

JP closed in prayer.

DG: Session One (Thursday Night - Wells)

The first session began early with a mad dash as the doors opened to get the best seats… but this facility (Minneapolis Convention Center) hardly has a bad seat. Tim and I are set up near the back door by the sound booth. We have our own little row from which to type and do our conferencing. The attendees appear to be a mixed crowd in age and background, although I would guess 99% are white.

Aimee from Trinity Baptist in Burlington (a sister congregation to ours) came up and introduced herself. We also ran in to Timmy Brister who is photo-blogging the conference.

Scott Anderson opened the first session with a warm welcome, noting that they are using an army of 100 volunteers. 3130 people are registered for the conference.

The DG Worship Group led us in Bob Kauflin’s “Praise God from whom All Blessings Flow,” and “Jesus, Thank You.”

David Wells Session One (Friday Night)

“The Supremacy of Christ in a Postmodern World”

98% of Protestants lived in the west in 1793. After a century of missions, 90% still lived in the west. This may lead many to think Christianity is a western thing. Transformation is taking place in the Christian faith, not in its nature, but where it is believed. It is moving south and east – Latin America and Asia. There are probably more believers in China than the United States. In the West, it is struggling to survive – at least outside of America. Even Canada is losing its Christian heritage. 80% go to church in many African countries. Christianity is becoming de-Westernized.

Unlike the Christian faith, Islam has a geographical centre – Mecca. A language – Arabic. No place, race, tongue or culture that holds Christianity together – but Christ does. Jesus Christ is not great – he is incomparable. God incarnate. Sin-bearer. Resurrected. Reigns supreme. You cannot say this about anybody else.

Hebrews argues this most consistently.

A Brief Introduction

A letter written to Jews tempted to fade back into the relative safety of the Judaism from which they had come. To go back, though, they would have to pass by Christ and what He had done.

Hebrews 1

God had spoken to the Fathers and He speaks to us Christians through His Son. God in the flesh. The One in whom are hidden and contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He is the Message. The radiance of His glory. He possesses all the attributes and perfections of God. “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Creation. Eschatology. Providence. Salvation. Resurrection. Ascension. Christ is all these things! Why would these Jewish believers in Christ drift away from the uniqueness of Christ? Chapter 3 – superior to Moses. Chapter 4-10 – supreme to all in the Old Testament

The 11th Chapter: The Pastoral Application of all of this….

There is a connection between the OT Israel wandering away in unbelief and these Christians being tempted to wander away as well. Israel could not enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. They shrank back from what scared them – they could not see that God would be sufficient for them to fight the giants and fortified cities of their imagination.

The NT believers are filled with uncertainty as they are faced with hostility from Jewish nation and the Roman nation. Could God sustain them? What would happen to them?

The author says, “If you walk with faith, you will be in continuity with all the great leaders of the past.” What they all had in common was “the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen.” They did not see it, but it was not na├»ve to believe it. These people had an inward persuasion – that made their hearts strong in suffering (11:32ff). These words describe what is happening in places in the world. The reason Jewish Believers were withdrawing from Christ was a matter of faith. Their vision of Christ had been clouded.

We don’t worry about these kind of things in the West – our problem is that we are so distracted by so many things that it is hard for us to sustain this focus on the supremacy of Christ in our lives. In 1900, the average life expectancy was 49 years – today it is over 80. We know more. Communicate more. Travel more and further. We buy more. We have more freedom. Along with this comes hidden costs – shadows that come right along with these benefits.

Anxiety. Connections outside of ourselves are tenuous. Families are disconnected. No one is rooted. At least in Africa, what is most pressing is physical needs (food, security, care). (The African Chorus for Children goes: He butters my bread / He sugars my tea / He pays my school fees).

The intrusiveness of the world into our inner mind – so much that is urgent and demands our attention. This is why the world wants sermons on anxiety and how to get along with your mother-in-law. But sermons that only address those matters are futile if the centrality and supremacy of Christ has been lost. We seem to be shrinking back from Christ. This persuasion of the uniqueness of Christ – conquers Kingdoms, obtains promises, enables us to live with suffering, etc.

The Supremacy of Christ Itself

Hebrews 2:8-9 (Psalm 8 – looks back to Genesis 1)

This mandate to have dominion has never been rescinded. The problem is that (in Romans 8) the whole creation has been subject to futility. We are often the victims of creation rather than having dominion. You will have to keep replacing the lamb if it lies down with the lion now!

At present all things do not appear in subjection to Christ. We do not have ourselves under control – even after a century of psychology.

But there is Jesus, who tasted death for us, dying in our place, bearing the righteous anger of God. Martin Luther quote: “If Christ was made guilty of all the sins of all of us…”

Creation has been de-railed – now it is being re-railed. The reach of Christ’s conquest is cosmic.

Hebrews 10:11-13 (Psalm 110)

Priests were never allowed to sit since their work was un-ending. But Christ has sat down! His work is finished! This is the contrast.

Christ has his foot upon the defeated and disgraced enemy. This Psalm with this image is cited about 20 times in the New Testament. Instead of speaking simply about Christ’s sovereignty, He speaks about it as it emerges from the ashes of defeat of the power of darkness. It is Christ’s priestly work by which His sovereignty over all is secured. This is the glorious note of the New Testament (Ephesians 1:22ff; 1 Peter 3:22). It was the holiness of God that called for his death. At the cross, the very back of evil is broken. What we are seeing now are the last futile moves of the enemy, none of which will change the outcome of what happened at Calvary. (applause)

Three Conclusions

1. Christianity is only about this kind of ChristChrist reigning supreme – unchallenged and unchallengeable! Post-moderns do not want to hear this – but the bottom line is that we don’t have anything else to give them. Christ is supreme. How do we help people come from where we are in this post-modern culture? We need to think about this. But it is the same Christ!

Some churches thought that this was very off-putting so these things were hidden – thinking that this kind of message would be an impediment to success. Now we live with the consequences. 45 % of Americans say they are born again – only 9% have a clue what that might mean! In America, the chickens have come home to roost and being “born again” counts for nothing.

Are we shrinking back form this full-orbed Biblical understanding the uniqueness of Christ. They feared their safety. We fear we won’t be successful. I believe this is a serious miscalculation!

Rainer’s research proves that most of the people used to define seeker-sensitivity still don’t go to church. 88% came to church to hear doctrine. They want to know whether we believe anything.

2. We live in this period between the already and the not-yet. We have been fully redeemed, but we know ourselves not yet to be fully redeemed. Between the time when the outcome of the chess game has been decided and the moment when the last futile move has been made. Richard Baxter observed: “We are vexed with unsatisfied desires…losses and crosses… death at last…” But perhaps this is especially true in the pressurized world in which we live. But there is another side to this. None of these are the final word – the sufferings of the present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed to us. O death, where is your sting? Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Jesus Christ.

We must put all things in reference to Christ. God is leading us.

3. It is God’s pleasure that His son should be acknowledged now for who He is. God takes pleasure in our worship now. We have been returned to the purpose for which we were first created.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Plane #2

Well, here I am back in the land of legroom. This time we are flying on a Boeing 717 with upgraded seating! I love to travel… like this. There are a few DG attendees on the flight by the looks of it. I have seen a Bible here, a Driscoll book there. For myself, I have been finishing up David Wells’ “No Place for Truth,” the best book I have read in a long time. I am missing my scanner as I would love to post an extended quote I just read – check out page 279, paragraph two! The actual conference will begin around 7PM tonight with Wells, so I hope you are reading this before then… otherwise you are pretty much wasting time and should get back to work!

Meeting "the Brains" (Milwaukee Layover)

We met Annette Harrison at the Milwaukee Airport and were treated to a lovely little lunch at one of the airport restaurants. Which means Annette will be working for the next 3 years to pay it off!

Annette is the famed “editor” of Adrian Warnock’s blog – with, apparently, a far greater command of the English language than the English Adrian (and me). And she is a nice person, too! She just happens to be an avid Lloyd-Jones reader, so we hit it off nicely. Got to go board!

Oops. Forgot to mention the real highlight of the meeting --- but I will have to post the picture when I can get to that!

Satchmo and Happiness (On Flight Entertainment)

Can you possibly improve on Louis Armstrong? “Our Love is Here to Stay” croons on my iPod at 30,000 feet and I have to say, “this is heaven.” How do you describe Louis? Nobody blew the trumpet like him… and who in the world ever sang like him? And how did he do it for so long? He smilingly sings away with Ella on this track. Do you ever hear a man smile as much? I don’t deserve this moment! Ahhh… And now, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off.”

The Plane #1

It seems the fire was nothing… or they put it out(!), because here we are on a Dornier 328 and I am enjoying my MASSIVE leg-room in seat 9A. Of course, sitting here requires that I be willing to open the emergency exit door when the plane lands safely on Lake Huron. (The lake is beautiful today… I wish I had a better command of English to describe how blue it is. “It is really blue….” Doesn’t cut it, does it?)

I have often wondered about these emergency exits. I don’t imagine that everyone will cue up in an orderly fashion behind me in the sinking, fire-engulfed plane as I lift the bulky door out and make my own way to safety. “Need a hand with that, Sir?” I can hear the young guy behind me asking! O well, my trust is in the Lord and if I have to get trampled for a few unbelievers to have longer to repent… so be it! (After all, I’ve got LEGROOM!)

Once we land in Milwaukee we are off to meet Annette Harrison, the real brains behind Adrian Warnock’s blog (sorry Adrian!). J

After that 37 hour layover (thanks Tim) we board a flight to Minneapolis. I am thinking about walking in order to get to the conference before the last session.

I think the tone of this post is being affected by my iPod… I am currently listening to “I am a Man of Constant Sorrow” from the “O, Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack. Too bad Tim and Paul are stuck in seats far away from me or else I could sing it to them. I do a grand southern imitation…

The Airport

“Your attention please. We have a fire alarm activated in the building and we are evacuating.”

Such began our wait for flight 2291 at Pearson Airport in Toronto. It does not appear to be too much of a crisis however, as the staff continues to wheel up passengers to our gate that require boarding assistance.

After helping the perpetually travel-dim Challies figure out which gate to check in at, we got in line the longest line. The nice line-monitor lady asked if we wanted to skip to the front… um, yeah!... then the check-in dude looked at me and said, “You need leg room.” I love that dude, even though he made fun of my passport picture. Speaking of being made fun of, the shoe-shine dude took one look at my fine shoes and said, “You need a shine, buddy.” To which I replied, “I shined these babies up last night!” He merely stood and shook his head. Come to think of it, I am taking a lot of abuse on this trip. I hope it improves!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

2006 National Conference :: Desiring God

2006 National Conference :: Desiring God

Tomorrow morning, Challies, the other Paul and I all leave for the DG Pomo Conference. I can hardly wait. The timing of the conference is not so great for me, but who could pass up listening to DA Carson, John Piper, Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll yap it up on several panels as well as each preach a different message. The icing on the cake will be sitting under David Well's ministry, author of the book from which the conference takes its title: Above All Earthly Powers.

I will be trying... TRYING... to do some not-so-live blogging of the main sessions. Although I can type cirlces around Challies, he thinks faster than I do... and being the contemplative type, I like to carefully meditate on what I am hearing. So, if you are desparate for some blow-by-blow descriptions of how things unfold, be sure to watch his blog.

Please pray for us as we travel. Once again I allowed Tim to make travel arrangements... I should have known better. I think we fly to Minneapolis via the Yukon. And that's after a stopover in Orlando. Oh well. Who am I to complain!

May God use it to make me and others better ministers of His glorious Gospel!

Saved and Baptized - Saved and Baptized

We had an amazing day this past Sunday. Not only did the Lord meet with us in our morning worship service, but He was particularly gracious in our evening baptism service.

I was able to preach from Acts 16, looking at the conversion of the Philippian jailor. The most exciting moment in this message for me was when I could look on many of the unbelievers in the room and tell them, "Monday the Jailer had never heard of Jesus. Tuesday he had given his life to Him! You can do the same!"

Anyway, the real highlight of the night came when Mike, Leslie and Henny gave their testimonies to how the Lord saved them. So, I have linked to the sermonaudio site where you can download these for free. Now that I have summed up my sermon for you, all you have to do is jet ahead to 41:30 and hear how the real God takes real sinners and makes them Christians!

I love the ways the Lord works!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Point

The Point

The Breakpoint team (ministry of Chuck Colson) have a new blog out. It looks, well, good. But I can't figure out how challies dot com made it to the blogroll and I didn't. Clearly a major oversight.

Seems they have been at it for a week or so. If I understand it right, Colson has quite a team of folks who write for him, so it is nice to see they are getting their own outlet besides "The voice of Chuck."

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stowe on Journaling

Higher Voltage: Journaling

Jim has a nice little post here - I was just so excited that he finally posted again that I wanted all of you to go over there and leave a comment so he will post more!

AtRisk - Bringing Hope to Hurting Youth Conference

AtRisk - Bringing Hope to Hurting Youth Conference

I have become somewhat of a fan of Mr. Nick Hill. Although we have not met in person yet, I have kept up on his goings on through his blog as well as through Son of Man who worked for him this past summer.

Nick seems to be one of those guys that loves the meat of the Word and the lost souls around him. You may not know that I live in the murder capitol of Canada, and Nick is ministering in another local church trying to evangelize the youth culture that we live in. It is a great work!

So, I was glad to see that Nick is organizing a conference to think about how to reach at risk youth. You can get all the details by clicking the title of this article or the link above.

If you have a heart for the city of Toronto, this may be just the kind of event you need to help turn your desires into action!