Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shepherds' Conference 07 – Day Two

Tim has been posting summaries of each of the main messages – you can read his work here. It has been fun to watch him do his thing. People do not know how difficult live-blogging can be. It requires considerable focus – you cannot drift at all – and you cannot just parrot what is spoken. You have to summarize and sometimes even fill things in for the whole thing to make sense. Tim is the master.

We are sitting right behind the “speakers’ bench.” It has been a delight to reconnect with my friends Mark Dever and his assistant Mike Law (whom I got to know at TBS this fall). Tim blew me off for lunch and ended up in an unplanned visit with John MacArthur – I still have not been able to talk to John but hope in the Lord’s kindness he will grant me a moment or two to connect with my old pastor.

It was great to reconnect with old friends too. Bob and Robb Provost are both here for the conference – Robb, my old college roommate, now serves overseas. I also had a brief chat with Chris McKnight (my fellow seminary grad who bailed me out of Dr. Thomas’ brutal NT Introduction quizzes) and Canadian BK Smith (who needs to return to Canada this spring when he graduates from TMS).

The better part of my free time was taken up with a long visit with my pal Joel Miller. I worked for Joel 15 years ago and then I moved to another department at The Master’s College but we kept our offices beside each other. Joel was the first man to look into the “windows to my heart” and not run away. He remains a faithful and dear friend and time with him face to face was a gift to me. We had lunch with his dear wife Jennifer (Jenny to me!) and I got to meet their daughter for the first time. She is a little Jen and so sweet I thought about packaging her up to take home!

These connections with old friends have been a deep means of grace to me.

As for the preaching, well, that hasn’t been so bad!

I appreciated sitting under John again, even though I would not agree with his assessment of amillennialism. But I know where John stands on that and I respect him deeply and love him much. He is a hero in the faith to me and even if I didn’t agree with all that he said, I loved hearing him preach. I grew so much week by week under his faithful ministry.

Steve Lawson did a great job. I think I would have liked to have heard his entire message in two sermons. His masterful weaving of his points through the text deserved a slower look, I thought. It was not that his basic message was new, but it was great to see it modeled.

CJ preached on humility. I could just listen to CJ for a long time. He makes you feel as though you are not so weird. I recall sitting at a lunch last year with Tim and Josh Harris and telling Josh that I thought he should write a book on how Sovereign Grace “does” heart work and creates community. Every time I hear CJ speak I hope and pray that he will do the same. The church would benefit from such a ministry.

And now it is time to sleep again. Sweet rest. A reminder that there is nothing to be proud about – since our God never sleeps or slumbers.