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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.