Posts belonging to Category Conferences

Past, Present and Future Grace

I am looking forward to attending the Desiring God Regional Conference in Fort Lauderdale this weekend along with my son, Sam. Pastor John Piper will be speaking on the theme of Future Grace: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God. The conference will conclude with a discussion panel featuring host pastor Tullian Tchividjian, pastor John Piper, as well as two local pastors from the community.

The conference has got me thinking about the different emphases that Piper and Tchividjian each bring to the topic of sanctification. Whereas most teaching on sanctification seems to focus on the present means of grace (such as the Word of God, prayer, Christian fellowship, baptism, communion, etc.), Piper and Tchividjian bring two different emphases to the table.

Pastor Tullian has emphasized the role of past grace, encouraging us to focus on our justification through faith in Christ which frees us from the law to live a holy life for Christ. Pastor John has emphasized the role of future grace, encouraging us to look forward to the promises of God as a motivation for holy living.

Of course all three emphases are important. Focusing on past grace helps us to avoid legalism and works-based righteousness by resting securely in our justification in the past. Focusing on present grace helps us to avoid spiritual passivity and laziness by actively pursuing God’s prescribed means of grace in the present. And focusing on future grace helps us to avoid fear and falling into temptation by fully believing God’s promises and grace-based rewards for the future.

As we seek to grow in Christ-likeness, let us take full advantage of God’s past, present and future grace extended to us through Jesus Christ.

I’m at the Ligonier Conference

I’m here at the 2012 Ligonier National Conference in Orlando Thursday through Saturday.  If you’re reading this and you are here too, call or text me at 954-809-8536.  I would love to meet you in person and say hi.

2008 Desiring God National Conference

This past weekend was the 2008 Desiring God National Conference. The theme of the conference was on the power of words. Speakers included John Piper, Sinclair Ferguson, Bob Kauflin, Mark Driscoll, Dan Taylor and Paul Tripp. You can find links to the messages in written, audio or video form here: 2008 Desiring God National Conference

Related post: 2008 Desiring God Pastors Conference

2008 Ligonier West Coast Conference

This past weekend was the 2008 Ligonier Ministries West Coast Conference. The theme was Tough Questions Christians Face. Speakers included R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur and Ligon Duncan. Here are summaries of each of the sessions as live-blogged by Alex Chediak and posted on the Ligonier Blog.

C. J. Mahaney Goes to the Dentist

Yesterday’s post, A Visit to the Dentist, reminded me of a hilarious story C.J. Mahaney told at the 1999 Desiring God Pastors Conference about going to the dentist. C.J. is always funny, but he was in rare form here. Here is the clip:

(Audio length: 1:39)

You can listen to C.J.’s complete message here: 1999 Pastors Conference

C. J. Mahaney on Dissatisfaction in Preaching

C. J. Mahaney on dissatisfaction in preaching:

I think we should remain dissatisfied with our preaching, so that we are always motivated to grow in our preaching. But I think there is a difference between being dissatisfied and being discouraged. For me, when I’m discouraged, normally that reveals the presence of pride, that to some degree in my preaching I was attempting to impress rather than serve.

This is from a panel session at the T4G’08 Together For the Gospel Conference that is taking place Tuesday-Thursday this week in Louisville, Kentucky. All talks from the conference are available for free listening or download here: Free Audio Downloads from Together for the Gospel.

Are We Too Dependent on Music for Worship?

Greg Gilbert recently wrote a couple of interesting posts over at Church Matters on music and worship in the church. In the first post (facetiously titled “Against Music”) Gilbert voiced his concerns about churchgoers relying too much on music in their worship of God.

I’ve been amazed since becoming an elder in a local church just how dependent many Christians are on a certain style of music, or certain level of excellence in music. How many times have you heard someone say, for example, “I just can’t worship in that church.”? Or “I just don’t feel like I’m connecting with God there.”

Gilbert shares about his experience in college attending the Passion Conferences in Texas. He joined with thousands of students in worshiping God through modern praise music led by excellent, skilled musicians. Then he returned home to his small church in New Haven Connecticut.

The praise bands were gone, I didn’t have a group of people who’d gone with me and shared that experience, and the churches had a piano and thirty people singing Isaac Watts hymns. That forced me to learn how to stoke the fires of worship with truths and words, and not just with excellent music. I’ve learned how to be emotionally affected by the excellent words of hymns whether they’re played and sung “excellently” or not.

Gilbert then followed up with a second post ( “Some More Thoughts on Music”) offering the following ten questions to help us consider whether we’ve allowed our hearts to become too dependent on music for our sense of spiritual well-being.

  1. Do you get bored when someone reads a longish passage of Scripture in your church? Do you start wishing they’d get on with the music?
  2. Do you need music playing in the background for the reading of Scripture to affect your emotions?
  3. Does a prayer seem too “plain” or “stark” to you if it doesn’t have music playing behind it?
  4. Do you feel depressed a few weeks after a worship conference because you haven’t felt close to God in a long time?
  5. Do you desperately look forward to the next conference you’re going to attend because you know that, finally, you’ll be able to feel close to God again?
  6. If you’re in a big church with great music, are you able to worship when you visit your parents’ small rural church?
  7. Do you ever feel worshipful in the middle of the week, at work, at school, etc. just because of thinking about God and his grace? Or does that only happen when the music’s playing?
  8. Do you tend to feel closer to God when you’re alone with your iPOD than you do when you’re gathered with God’s people in your church?
  9. Do you feel like you just can’t connect with other believers who haven’t had the same “worship experiences” that you have? Can you only connect with other believers who “know what it feels like to really worship?”
  10. Is your sense of spiritual well-being based more on feeling close to God, or knowing that you are close to God because of Jesus Christ?

What do you think? How important are matters of style and excellence when it comes to worshiping God through music? Have we become too dependent on music for our sense of spiritual well-being?

2008 Desiring God Pastors Conference Roundup

Today was the last day of the 2008 Desiring God Conference for Pastors, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota. This year’s theme was: The Pastor as Father and Son. The speakers were D. A. Carson, Crawford Lorritts, Greg Livingstone and John Piper.

These are great conferences with great times of worship mixed with great speakers delivering great messages. Not to mention the great fellowship you enjoy with other pastors! I have attended in the past and followed the conference closely when I could not attend.

Desiring God has been blogging the conference, and you can find a roundup of all this year’s conference posts here, including summaries of the messages. They are also posting the audio to the sessions for free. The messages are all good, but I would especially recommend Carson’s. And don’t miss John Piper’s tribute to his recently deceased evangelist father.

Related post: 2008 Desiring God National Conference

Al Mohler’s Blogging Advice

Al Mohler gave this great advice for bloggers in his keynote address at the GodBlogCon conference in Las Vegas last week. This would apply equally well to commenting on other people’s blogs.

Don’t write anything you wouldn’t want your parents, children, pastor or lost neighbor to read.

Works for me. My parents and children already read my blog. I am the pastor at my church, but my fellow elders read my blog. And I am always praying that my lost neighbors (locally and globally) will be reading the blog, too. We should always remember that our words have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21), and guard our written and spoken words accordingly.

Al Mohler’s whole address is well worth the listen as he weaves the fascinating history of Christian influence in media from the scrolls and codices of ancient times to the printing press, radio, TV and internet.

Note: I notice Justin Taylor at Between Two Worlds also has a post on appropriate blog commenting today, too.

Quick Takes – 11/10/2007

“It is so dry in Georgia . . .”     “HOW DRY IS IT?”

Popular Mechanics writes about the future of Space-Based Solar Power (SBSP). “Space-based solar power may become an important energy source as fossil-fuel supplies dwindle in midcentury: A single 1-kilometer-wide solar array could collect enough power in a year to rival the entire world’s oil reserves.”

Wired reports on the proliferation of fake campaign websites. “A growing bag of tricks employed by tech-savvy amateur political operatives now includes a collection of spoofed online forums purporting to support top candidates, while damning them with praise for extreme positions they have never voiced. The operating principle: The best way to undermine a candidate’s supporters is to pretend to be one of them.”

Mark Roberts presented his 18 Theses on the Pastor as Godblogger at the GodBlogCon conference at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Here are the first five. “1. Some pastors should be bloggers. 2. Some pastors should not be bloggers. 3. Many pastors who are not bloggers today should become bloggers. 4. Some pastors who are bloggers today should stop, at least for a while. 5. Blogging can enrich a pastor’s ministry with the pastor’s own congregation, and this is sufficient reason for a pastor to blog.” (You can listen to the audio of Mark’s talk here.)

Ben Witherington warns parents about The Golden Compass, a new children’s movie coming out this Christmas season. The movie is based on the first book of the trilogy His Dark Materials, written by noted English atheist Phillip Pullman. Apparently the books have a stong anti-God and anti-Christian bent, alhtough that has been toned down for the first movie. “In short, avoid this movie like the plague this Christmas. It appears to be a Trojan horse for its sequels, and you will remember what happened to Troy when that horse was allowed entrance into the city and lives of the Trojans.”

Meteorologist John Coleman, founder of The Weather Channel, calls global warming the greatest scam in history.. “I am amazed, appalled and highly offended by it. Global Warming; It is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming. Other scientists of the same environmental whacko type jumped into the circle to support and broaden the ‘research’ to further enhance the totally slanted, bogus global warming claims. Their friends in government steered huge research grants their way to keep the movement going. Soon they claimed to be a consensus.” Come on, John, tell us how you really feel!

Nancy Beach shares about Bill Hybels’ “traffic light” invitation at the end of a service. “At the close of his message, Bill Hybels simply showed three lights on a flipchart – green, yellow, and red. He asked everyone to honestly decide which light represents where they currently are spiritually:

  • Green: I’m a member of God’s family, trusting Him to be my Leader, Savior, and Friend.
  • Yellow: I’m still in a searching place, and haven’t yet decided.
  • Red: I am in a place of rebellion, or fighting God…

Bill invited anyone in the yellow or red categories who would like to come pray with us in Guest Central to show up right after the service.”

Bill Hybels - Traffic Light Illustration

Free Sovereign Grace Worship Conference MP3s

Sovereign Grace Ministries is offering free MP3 downloads from the 2006 Sovereign Grace worship conference (WorshipGod06; “The Glory of God’s Presence”). Five main messages are available, as well as 21 teaching seminars. If you have never been to a worship conference, this should give you a good idea of what you have been missing.

Meanwhile, over at Worship Matters, Bob Kauflin is looking for seminar ideas from readers for the WorshipGod08 conference (July 30-August 2, 2008; Covenant Life Church; Theme – “Rediscovering the Psalms.”)

Here are the titles for the MP3s that are available from the 2006 Worship Conference. (Visit Sovereign Grace for the download links.)


Iron Sharpens Iron 2007 – Final Wrap Up

(This is from a series of posts on the Iron Sharpens Iron Men’s Conference in Hartford, CT on March 24, 2007. To view the whole series, click here.)

Well, that wraps up the series of posts on the Iron Sharpens Iron conference. I hope this series was helpful – both as a quick review for those who attended the conference, and as an overview for those who were not there.

I got the idea of blogging the conference from Tim Challies who has blogged on a number of conferences at his site. (Tim is a braver man than I, and he even “liveblogs” some of the conferences while they are still going on!) If you enjoyed this series on the Iron Sharpens Iron Conference, I encourage you to check out Tim’s summaries of the various conferences he has attended. Here are the links: