Saturday, March 10, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Thursday, March 08, 2007
One of the reasons I wanted to attend this year’s conference was to re-connect with men I have not seen in years. This value in this is difficult to describe. Spurgeon often remarked how the annual conference of those men who graduated from his pastor’s college was such a boon to his own soul. I think I know why - at least in part.
There is an aspect of the ministry that is quite lonesome – not in a mamby, pamby relational sense… but in a way that it is inherent to the ministry of the Word. The pastor is called to pour out his soul week by week. That is what so much of preaching is – and we love it. But there is a sense where a man stands alone in that task. As much as fellow elders stand alongside you, there is always an element of singularity in the ministry of the Word. A man studies and preaches alone – ultimately for God and before God. And it is a high honour. But it can be lonesome.
To be back in California and run into men who I trained with in seminary, to sit under the preaching of men that preached the same things to me 20 years ago, to sing the great hymns of the faith as part of a 3000 voice male choir… these things are all used of God to minister deep grace to a pastor’s heart.
But looking into the eyes of fellow shepherds, men who have given their lives to feed Jesus’ sheep, and to hear their testimony of God’s gracious (and oftentimes severe) dealings with them is a means of grace to me.
There is an intangible strengthening that takes place and for which I thank the Lord.
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).
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.
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Such dear friends – made in 1985 – and still so close in Jesus! A wonderful, bitter-sweet start to my time in LA!
You might have guessed it. Flying Air
Our plane was scheduled to leave at – we took off at 11:22.
If you reject providence, you might despair.
We will hopefully get to LA though, and from there head up to
Monday, March 05, 2007
Sunday, March 04, 2007
It has been a busy few weeks for the kerux.
Saturday night I was privileged to preach at Living Worship, a primarily singing event held every 10 weeks or so by some young adults I know. We were at Tyndale University this time. I was glad to preach about the only Saviour the world will ever know, even though we did not get the crowds we had hoped for.
After preaching twice today, I will begin final preparations for my week away. I am off to
I also hope to blog some of the conference. The last time I traveled with Tim I tried doing what he does to see what that was like. Let’s just say I intend to leave the live-blogging to the uber-blogger himself! But I will have my camera and try to give some idea of the “other side” of the conference.
This is reading week at TBS, so I am not missing any classes. Pray that my students read what I told them to read!
Oh, and if you have read this far, you might want to click here and head over to the evil empire to leave a real nasty comment.