Saturday, March 10, 2007

Shepherds' Conference 07 – Day Four (Some Snaps...)

Re-connecting with old TMS alumni Dave and Ken.

My old pal Mark Tatlock (now VP of Student Affairs at TMC) and my old friend Worley Kennedy (now pastor of a new church in Pampa Texas.)

A guy looks up and there is the forever humble and godly Ricardo Morales - back in California after nearly 20 years! He is in his first semester of TMS. We attended TMC together.

Mr. I Am At Every Conference Paul Martin Ever Attends - Steve Balentine. What a good egg. And he ate one too... an egg that is! We just need to get our pal Spack to make it out to one of these things!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 09, 2007

Shepherds' Conference 07 – Day Two (Some Snaps...)

Your conference line up singing. (Yes that is my head.)

CJ enjoying one of his jokes!

Tim and Mark and me yapping it up before Al Mohler preached. Remind me to tell you what Dever is driving!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shepherds’ Conference 07 – Day Three (More Thoughts on the Value of These Things)

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.

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.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Shepherds’ Conference 07 – Just Too Short

Tim and I just got back from meeting the Delisle’s, Hodel’s and (surprise!) the Rosenthal’s – all wonderful friends made in my first years at The Master’s College. It was far too short of a time and mrs. kerux needednto have been there. We drove to Bakersfield from LAX – had dinner at Hodel’s Restaruant (the best buffet west of the Atlantic Ocean!) and after a short visit at the Hodel home loaded up for Van Nuys.

Such dear friends – made in 1985 – and still so close in Jesus! A wonderful, bitter-sweet start to my time in LA!

Must sleep!

My first taste of LA sun! 4 degrees in Toronto - 90 degrees here!!!

On the road through LA.

Me and me brothers... trying not to leave.
Posted by Picasa

Shepherds’ Conference 07 - It Begins

You might have guessed it. Flying Air Canada means you should expect delays! Tim and I got to the airport in Toronto at 6:40AM. The self-serve kiosk would not let us check in so we waited in line for a human – she was very helpful. Then we waited in line again to go through US Customs (when flying to the US from Canada you clear customs and immigration on this side of the border). Then Tim waited in line at Tim Horton’s – 24 minutes for a bottle of water! Then we waited one hour at gate 167. Our plane never showed up – then we waited 20 minutes at gate 170 – I still don’t see a plane! Ah, this is why – they just moved us back to gate 169!

Farden Wegerchowski was just paged for our flight. That is quite a name!

Our plane was scheduled to leave at 8:50Am – 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 Bakersfield and back again.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Pray for These Boys - Winter 2007

Last semester I posted a picture of the boys in my Pastoral Theology Class and asked you to pick one you could pray for over the year. Well, if you could do that again, that would be great! These guys have put up with a lot with me being gone quite a bit this semester to care for my father before he died. They are a great bunch of men.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Goings On

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 California to attend the Shepherd’s Conference with my pal, Tim Challies. You might pray for Tim, he is sicker than a rabid dog on hot July afternoon. We are quite hoping he is better by Tuesday!

While in California, I am also planning to meet some old friends. We will gather at Hodel’s Restaurant in Bakersfield for a little reunion.

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.