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conference

April 15, 2008

This is a brief and final reminder to Canadians (or people with an interest in ministry in Canada) who happen to be attending Together for the Gospel. Please remember that we will be meeting together tomorrow evening as soon as the day’s final session wraps up. We’ll meet in room 112 right there in the convention center. We’ll meet for just a few minutes and will focus on networking and building relationships. See you there!

April 14, 2008

I am on my way to Together for the Gospel. Two vans loaded down with guys from my church (and from a couple of other local churches) are currently heading down the 401 (and then I-75), hoping to arrive on time for dinner in Louisville. As I did at the last conference, I’ll be bringing blog updates your way throughout. I don’t think there is actually a Internet connection in the conference center so I may have to get a bit inventive, but I will try to update as often as possible. This year I am hoping to bring you some audio and/or video updates as well, so keep an eye out for those.

Before the conference actually begins, I am slated to be a member of the panel at the second Band of Bloggers event. I’ll serve there along with Thabiti Anyabwile, Justin Taylor, Phil Johnson and Abraham Piper. We’ll be focusing on “the gospel trust” and then enjoying a time of fellowship together.

And then, of course, the real conference will begin. Over two half days and one full day we’ll hear from Al Mohler, C.J. Mahaney, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, Thabiti Anyabwile, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul and John Piper. It is going to be a packed schedule but I’m anticipating a great time of sitting under the teaching of the Word. So stay tuned here throughout the conference and I’ll try to bring updates as often as I can (and I’ll be sure to tell you all about the books and other free stuff we hope to collect there!).

If you are looking for more, here are 19 reasons Thabiti is looking forward to T4G. And, of course, you can check in with the official site to keep an eye on the schedule.

I have one prayer request. Make that two. First pray for traveling mercies for all of the 5000+ people who will be traveling to Louisville for this conference. And more personally, please pray for my family. There is still some sickness in my home. It’s not enough that I needed to stay home, but still enough that Aileen would sure appreciate having the kids just get over the bugs that are plaguing them. Your prayers would be appreciated!

March 13, 2008

Well, I made it. It is good to feel a hot sun for the first time in many months! It was an early start this morning—the alarm rang at 2:44 AM and I was out the door just a very short time after that. After having some very bad flights in the past few months, I was blessed to have two good ones today. So thanks to United Airlines for good and on-time service (insert Air Canada joke here)! We landed in Orlando right on time and I quickly found my friend Nick who had flown in an hour earlier. We also happened upon another conference attendee who needed a ride from the airport (and who knew we were heading to Ligonier because of the John Stott book Nick was holding). By the time I picked up a rental car, dropped my bag at the hotel, grabbed some lunch and found the church I had already missed the first couple of sessions of the preconference—sessions that were led by Steven Lawson and R.C. Sproul Jr.. Alex Chediak, posting over at the Ligonier blog, has notes on the first sessions if you want to know what they were all about. I’ll begin to add some thoughts as the evening goes on and as the conference proper begins.

February 10, 2008

The Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology wrapped up last night with Dr. Carson speaking on “Preaching Christ Crucified.” It was, I think, a very useful conference and one that seems to have touched many of those who attended. The staff and the team of volunteers were very kind and very eager to serve. I always love the conferences that are held at local churches as they give such great opportunities for service. It was a joy to see so many people serving and to be able to meet so many brothers and sisters in Christ.

If you live in the Nashville area (or even if you don’t) and you’d like to get out to a conference next year, NCCT ‘09 will be featuring John MacArthur and Bruce Ware (and probably at least one more speaker). It will be another great one, I’m sure, and will be worth adding to your calendar even now.

My parents drove up from the Chattanooga area to spend some time with me, so this morning we’ll head over to Community Bible Church for the morning worship service (where D.A. Carson will be preaching once more) and then we’ll go out for lunch before I begin my journey back to Toronto. If all goes well I should be home for dinner!

Thanks for those who took the time to pray for me and for the other speakers. My first conference plenary session went about as well as I could have hoped, I suppose. I’m still far more confident behind a pen than behind a pulpit, but over time that may well change.

I do apologize for the shortness of the posts over the past couple of days. Because I have not been blogging this conference, I’ve been leaving my computer at the hotel and have been doing just little snatches of writing here and there. Hopefully by tomorrow we’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming around here.

February 09, 2008

It’s day two of the Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology. Things kicked off last night with a session from Dr. D.A. Carson in which he introduced the Emergent Church and Emerging theology. He also dipped into postmodernism and a variety of related topics. For those unfamiliar with the whole movement, I’m sure this proved a useful introduction. You will be able to download audio from the conference site after things have wrapped up. I’ll post a link when it’s available. When his session was complete he fielded some questions which allowed him to clarify a few matters. It was a helpful session, I think.

Today will begin with Dr. Steve Lawson speaking on the Power of the Gospel and he’ll be followed by Carson who will speak on The Gospel and Postmodern Minds. Later this afternoon, after Dr. Lawson’s second session, I’ll take a kick at things and discuss Loving God with your Mind. I continue to covet your prayers on my behalf and on behalf of the other speakers today. Nashville, it seems, represents a rather unique church setting.

Speaking of which, I am going to go through my notes one more time before heading over to the church. I pray you have a great and relaxing Saturday. I may check in a little bit later if I have time or opportunity!

December 10, 2007

I’m going to be in the Atlanta and Chattanooga areas over the holidays this year, hanging out with my family and then attending the Reality Check Conference (where I’ll be blogging, book signing, and having fun). So that means a couple of days in Adairsville, GA, a couple of days in Woodstock, GA (which, I hear, is a ‘burb of Atlanta) and a few days in Chattanooga, TN. Looks like it’s going to be a busy week or ten days!

While down south I have been asked to speak at a couple of churches and thought I’d let you know in case anyone out there in cyberspace is interested in attending. On December 23rd I’ll be speaking at Grace Community Church which meets in Dawsonville, Georgia. I believe the worship service begins at 6 PM and will be followed by a Christmas candle-light service. Then, the next Sunday, December 30th, I’ll be speaking at Lyndon Avenue Baptist Church in Chattanooga. The service begins at 6 PM.

At both services I’ll be speaking on Hebrews 5 and teaching on the Bible’s call for us to be men and women of discernment. On the 30th I believe I’ll also speak a little bit on my experiences working in the blogosphere and in new media.

So if you live in the area and if you’re itching for something to do on a Sunday evening over the holidays, feel free to visit either of those churches.

November 05, 2007

I wanted to draw your attention to a couple of conferences that, though they do not take place until 2008, are coming up rather quickly now.

Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology (February 8-10)

The Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology is hosted by Community Bible Church. This is how they introduce this conference: “After fifty years of ‘church growth’ methodology, the Church’s landscape is littered with countless relics of the latest and greatest models for ministry. But above all our attempts at “relevance” stands the cross of Jesus Christ. The cross is our only message and our greatest relevance. We preach Christ crucified.

The Nashville Conference on the Church and Theology is an opportunity to rediscover the power of the Cross. NCCT 08 is a call to reformation. It is for preacher, leader and layman alike all wrestling with the same questions. Can the church reach out without selling out? Can it address the culture without abandoning its core message?”

The speakers will be Steven Lawson, D.A. Carson, and me. I will be speaking once, Dr. Lawson twice and Dr. Carson three times (with Dr. Carson also preaching at the church Sunday morning). The topic I’ll be speaking on is “Loving God with Your Mind: The Place of Discernment and Critical Thinking in Worship.” Other topics include “From Foolishness to Irrelevance: The Diminishing Message of the Cross,” “The Gospel and Postmodern Minds: How Do We Reach Out to a Changing Culture Without Selling Out?,” and “Bring the Book: Why Preaching the Truth is the Greatest Need in Every Age.”

Though I tried to work my way out of it, the conference organizers determined I should be part of this one, and so I’ll attempt to keep people amused between talks from the real speakers. If you are in the Nashville area, you might like to make some room on your schedule for this one. You can find more information about it here: Nashville Conference on the Church & Theology.

2008 Band of Bloggers :: The Gospel Trust (April 15)

Only a few weeks before the inaugural Together for the Gospel conference Timmy Brister had the idea of inviting bloggers to gather together immediately before the beginning of the main conference. Over seventy of us did so in what was probably the largest gathering of evangelical bloggers to that point. With the 2008 Together for the Gospel Conference fast approaching, Timmy has once again set about organizing the Band of Bloggers. The theme this year is “The Gospel Trust” and the conference will feature a panel comprised of Justin Taylor, Thabiti Anyabwile, Mark Lauterbach and me. This event will take place at noon the day that Together for the Gospel kicks off and will happen in or near the same venue.

If you are a blogger or even someone who just enjoys reading blogs, why not get to Louisville just a half a day earlier and take in this event? You can find more information here: Band of Bloggers.

August 12, 2007

I wanted to take some space on this blog to make mention of what looks like a really interesting conference. The Expositors’ Conference (October 1-2) is hosted by Christ Fellowship Baptist Church (in Mobile, Alabama), the church pastored by Steve Lawson. The conference is targeted squarely at pastors, and especially those who value expository preaching and are attempting to learn how to do it or get better at it. There are only two speakers but they are among the foremost expositors in the world today: John MacArthur and Steve Lawson. I believe the conference is likely to be quite small and have a reasonably intimate feel to it.

Here is a list of the topics that will be covered:

  • The 10 How To’s of Expository Preaching (Steven Lawson)
  • Why I Am Committed To Expository Preaching, Part One (John MacArthur)
  • Why I Am Committed To Expository Preaching, Part Two (John MacArthur)
  • Questions & Answers (Steven Lawson & John MacArthur)
  • Digging Deeper Into The Biblical Text (Steven Lawson)
  • Proclaiming The Word With Passion And Power (Steven Lawson)

The fee is only $95 and that includes all of the meals. There are a limited number of families available to host attendees (for free, of course), so this conference may be a good option for those who are on a tight budget. It is also a great alternative to people who may not be able to go to next year’s Shepherds’ Conference.

If you are interested in going or in sending your pastor, visit the web site for more information.

June 25, 2004

When you pray, petitioning God for something, do you really expect results? Do you pray as one who is already defeated, expecting before you even pray that God will not grant your prayer? Or do you pray with confidence that God hears and answers prayer?

Acts 12 contains a wonderful story that shows how even the giants of the faith and the pillars of the church had trouble putting their confidence in God through prayer. In that chapter we read about Peter’s arrest and imprisonment by King Herod. Having just had James the brother of John put to death, and seeing that this pleased the Jews, Herod sent his soldiers to arrest Peter and put him in prison, intending on having him killed after the Passover. We read in verse five “prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God.” Other translations choose to interpret fervent as earnest or constant. The point is clear: God’s people were praying with great zeal, great emotion and great sincerity, asking God to save the life of their beloved brother.

While the people were on the other side of town praying for Peter, God saw fit to rescue him. He sent an angel to Peter who led him from the prison and to the gate of the city. Peter seems to have believed this was a dream, for verse 11 says “When Peter came to himself, he said, ‘Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’” He immediately went to the house of Mary, the mother of John, knowing that the church at Jerusalem would be gathered there. He no doubt realized that they would be gathered together to pray for him.

And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a girl named Rhoda came to answer. When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate. But they said to her, “You are beside yourself!” Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, “It is his angel.”

Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. But motioning to them with his hand to keep silent, he declared to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, “Go, tell these things to James and to the brethren.” And he departed and went to another place.

Do you see what happened there? Believers who had been with Jesus and had learned from His disciples were gathered together to pray for Peter. These were people who should have had great faith, yet when they heard that their prayers had been answered they did not believe it. You can almost imagine them snarling to the poor servant girl “You’re crazy! It can’t be Peter! He’s in prison and we’re busy praying that God will save him!” The situation is almost comical, isn’t it?

You have to ask yourself, is there any purpose in praying if you do not really believe God is capable of answering prayer? Why pray if you do not believe that God is willing to hear your prayer? God is not only capable of answering prayer, but He is also willing to answer prayer.

Pray to God with your expectations set high. Exercise faith through prayer, trusting that God hears your petition. As a father loves to grant what his child requests, so our heavenly Father loves to answer sincere, godly prayer. God may not answer your request at the time you expect or in the way you expect, but trust that He will answer.

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