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The Basics Conference (VI)

And just like this we’ve come to the end of this year’s Basics Conference. It always seems to go by so quickly. I think I say this every year, but this really is one of my favorite conferences of the year (and perhaps even my absolute favorite). Many conferences geared to pastors are intense, packing every day full of teaching and preaching. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave some people feeling a bit worn out by the end (and especially those of us who try to blog each of the sessions). The Basics has such a nice pace—no more than three keynote addresses in a day. Everything but accommodations is on-site, so you need only leave at the end of the day. From morning until evening you can stay on-campus, browsing an excellent bookstore, attending breakout sessions, enjoying fellowship and eating. Speaking of eating, the food is always top-notch and served by a host of volunteers. This conference is an occasion for the church members to serve and they do it with excellence. It is also a time where the speakers tend to be available to the people who attend the conference. The crowds are smaller, the pace is relaxed, and this allows greater access to the men you’ve come to hear.

As I’ve done in years past, I’d encourage you to consider freeing up your pastor to attend next year. I am confident that it will be for him a valuable time where he can rest and relax and have his soul fed by the preaching of the Word. Though they have not yet firmed up the speakers for next year, each of the names on the short list is a man whom you’d love to hear preach.

As always, Alistair Begg preached the conference’s final session and this year he chose for his text Acts 25:23 through to the end of Acts 26. This is the story, of course, of the Apostle Paul standing before King Agrippa and proclaiming the gospel message to the King and to all who would hear.

Begg returned the topic he had addressed yesterday—preaching in a way that seeks to persuade the listener. Yesterday we had observed that there were three enemies of preaching that seeks to persuade—confusion concerning the message, fear about the consequences of proclaiming it and complacency about the predicament of those who hear the message. In Acts 26 we see the counterpoint of each of these. We see how Paul’s defense, his message, was marked by clarity, authority and a sense of urgency.

In this passage a large door of opportunity opens in two ways—to Agrippa who gets to hear Paul’s message and to Paul who gets to do the preaching. Begg went through this, both teaching the pastors how he chose to preach and teach the text and showing how Paul models persuasive preaching. The nature of Begg’s message meant that it did not give itself readily to a short blog summary so I will leave it to you to listen to it. Though anyone could listen to it and benefit, I’d suggest that it is pastors, preachers, who stand to benefit the most.

And now, I’m going to grab one of the boxed lunches they have stacked out in the hallway, head home and, the Lord willing, grab a quick dinner before taking the family to our mid-week service. In terms of travel, I have just one more event in my schedule this spring. Next week I will be in Chicago for a few days, bringing some updates from the Moody Pastors Conference. This will be my first time taking in that event and I am looking forward to seeing what it is all about. After that, from June 1 to 3, I’ll be spending some time at the Toronto Pastors Conference which my church has organized. And then I should be sticking pretty close to home until fall.