I texted a couple of people about this, but Desiring God is live-streaming this conference.
Here’s the link for the live-stream page.
(They also told us that messages should be available for download 1 hour after they are given.)
Bob thought that what stood out to him was how he was able to relate every problem an individual or pastor would have needs to be brought back to the Gospel. He also appreciated Tripp’s sense of humor. And thought Tripp’s strength, real-life illustrations, were helpful in his communication of truth.
I thought that this session was personally convicting in many ways. Tripp was relentless in helping us see our hearts in ways that we maybe haven’t seen them in the past. He did this masterfully for all of us in that room. Question after question and example after example helped us see our hearts and how ministry temptations must be fled from for the help that is offered in the body of Christ.
I would encourage you to read through the notes from this session.
For all of the excitement and privilege of ministry in the local church, it is important to remember that ministry with, to and for the Body of Christ is accompanied by a unique set of obstacles and temptations. Successful, God-honoring, productive ministry in the church is never just a matter of mastering the requisite body of information and possessing the right set of skills. Ministry in the local church, whatever it is, is always shaped by the condition of your heart. What are the issues that are at the heart of ministry struggle and failure? What are the protections that need to be built into the life of everyone who is active in ministry of any kind? How do we assure that the message of the transforming grace of Jesus Christ is not only operating in the lives of those being ministered to, but in the one doing ministry as well?
The schedule shows 2 sessions:
Title: The Pastor: Who Do We Think He Is Anyway?
Title: The Pastor: Not Yet Perfect, Still Under Attack
After this conference, we will register, grab some dinner, and prep for the evening session with Sam Storms. If I get a chance, I’ll update everyone later.
Up and around this morning then out the door to Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Bloomington, MN (home of Cole Aldrich & Best Buy, a south suburb of Minneapois).
Enjoyed an amazing morning with these dear saints.
The service began at 10AM with songs centered on grace (Holy, Holy, Holy, O What Grace, Ransomed, Grace, Grace Like Rain, Grace Unmeasured and All I Have Is Christ). After a welcome, they dismissed the children to teaching Pastor Matthew Wassink gave an amazing message from 1 Peter 1:22-25 entitled, “Grow in Faith, Grow in Grace: Love One Another.” This fellowship of churches does such an amazing job in welcoming. I was so encouraged visiting with Pastor Rick Gamache.
We left from there for lunch and other fun things in Bloomington and came back to the hotel to rest. Hoping for a restful night.
Yesterday, Saturday, January, 30th, Bob Lansdowne (a deacon at our church) and I left Hutchinson around 5:45AM and drove straight through to Minneapolis. We were able to get in here around 4:30, which was pretty good time. We checked into the hotel and headed over to Bethlehem Baptist Church (where John Piper pastors) for their evening service.
A brass ensemble called us to worship. I loved the way Piper weaved the service together with Scripture, pointing us upward. We sang songs (All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, Everlasting God, You Are My King) and watched them welcome around 80 new members. They make them publicly affirm a Membership Covenant, then the congregation publicly affirms (again) their willingness to be those kind of people. It was a moving night.
Piper’s message from Matthew 16:13-18 was entitled Invincible Purpose: I Will Build My Church. The message was a historical, Biblical defense of church planting which led into John Erickson preaching. Bethlehem is launching Jubilee Community Church and this was the service to call people out to that. I must say, I was stirred to consider my life in light of planting congregations and reaching out to others.
Our hearts were full, so we finally grabbed supper after church and went to bed.
I will be attending the 2010 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference in Minneapolis, MN. I am leaving Saturday AM and hoping to make in to Minneapolis in time for evening service at Bethlehem Baptist Church. On Sunday AM, we are planning on attending Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Bloomington.
Here’s the trailer for the conference:
You can catch updates on the DG Blog and I will try to get something up here.
How to wreck your church in three weeks
Week One: Walk into church today and think about how long you’ve been a member, how much you’ve sacrificed, how under-appreciated you are. Take note of every way you’re dissatisfied with your church now. Take note of every person who displeases you.
Meet for coffee this week with another member and “share your heart.” Discuss how your church is changing, how you are being left out. Ask your friend who else in the church has “concerns.” Agree together that you must “pray about it.”
Week Two: Send an email to a few other “concerned” members. Inform them that a groundswell of grievance is surfacing in your church. Problems have gone unaddressed for too long. Ask them to keep the matter to themselves “for the sake of the body.”
As complaints come in, form them into a petition to demand an accounting from the leaders of the church. Circulate the petition quietly. Gathering support will be easy. Even happy members can be used if you appeal to their sense of fairness – that your side deserves a hearing. Be sure to proceed in a way that conforms to your church constitution, so that your petition is procedurally correct.
Week Three: When the growing moral fervor, ill-defined but powerful, reaches critical mass, confront the elders with your demands. Inform them of all the woundedness in the church, which leaves you with no choice but to put your petition forward. Inform them that, for the sake of reconciliation, the concerns of the body must be satisfied.
Whatever happens from this point on, you have won. You have changed the subject in your church from gospel advance to your own grievances. To some degree, you will get your way. Your church will need three or four years for recovery. But at any future time, you can do it all again. It only takes three weeks.
Just one question. Even if you are being wronged, “Why not rather suffer wrong?” (1 Corinthians 6:7)
Thabiti’s encouragement was to read, pray and (if appropriate) repent.
In an upcoming sermon, we will see how Paul endured lots of suffering and afflictions for the sake of Christ’s body, the church. We need to practice active love toward the bride of Christ. Josh Harris has also weighed in timely on this matter. How are your actions showing love to those for whom Christ shed His blood?
My wife sent me an email last week on the needs of orphans in Haiti. As she read certain posts online, her heart was moved with compassion for the needs of these. As we are urged by James, caring for orphans is the essence of Christianity working itself out in love (James 1:27).
Here are some interesting sites to consider for this need…
Here’s the questions my wife asked me in email (taken from the T4A site)…
• What can we do over the next several weeks so that we don’t forget about the people of Haiti?
• What will our church be able to do if/when Humanitarian Parole is granted for Haiti’s orphans?
• Where in Haiti can we send our people to serve on short-term trips come summer?
• How many people can our church send?
Oh Phil, will God call us to sacrifice greatly is the midst of this devastation?
I hope you can sense the compassion in her pleading. Let’s pray for God’s mercy and pray for wisdom in our actions.
Today’s sermon, Gospel Perseverance, from Colossians 1:23 is now online. The outline was pretty simple, getting at motivations for perseverance…
I. We persevere continuing in our faith.
II. We persevere recognizing the scope of the Gospel.
III. We persevere remembering the change the Gospel produces.
I loved the way the passage unfolded to our corporate practice of the Lord’s Supper. We need the encouragement to persevere because we are so prone to think that because we believed at one point in our lives, we are no longer responsible for living out those truths with more and more belief. We need to heed this passage and “not shift from the hope of the Gospel that we heard.”
This Sunday, we will be looking at Colossians 1:23. I thought of entitling the sermon “the Big IF” but ended up entitling it Gospel Perseverance. Here’s the issue, from Spurgeon’s sermon Stand Fast on the same text…
But, Brothers and Sisters, the battle does not end when, by a desperate rush, a man has come to Christ. In many it assumes a new form—the enemy now attempts to drag the trembler from his refuge and eject him from his stronghold! It is difficult to get at the hope of the Gospel, but quite as difficult to keep it so as not to be moved away from it. If Satan spends great power in keeping us from the hope, he uses equal force in endeavoring to drag us away from it—and equal cunning in endeavoring to allure us from it. Hence the Apostle tells us not to be moved away from the hope of the Gospel. The exhortation is necessary in presence of an imminent danger. Do not think that in the moment when you believe in Christ the conflict is over, or you will be bitterly disappointed! It is then that the battle renews itself and every inch of the road swarms with enemies.
Between here and Heaven you will always have to fight, more or less, and frequently the severest struggle will be at a time when you are least prepared for it. There may be smooth passages in your career and you may, for a while, be like your Savior in the wilderness, of whom it is said, “Then the devil departed from Him, and angels came and ministered unto Him.” But you may not, therefore, cry, “My mountain stands firm, I shall never be moved,” for fair weather may not outlast a single day! Do not grow secure, or carnally presumptuous. There is but a short space between one battle and another in this world. It is a series of skirmishes even when it does not assume the form of a pitched battle. He that would win Heaven must fight for it! He that would take the new Jerusalem must scale it and if he has the wits to take Jacob’s ladder and set it against the wall and climb up that way, he will win the City. “The Kingdom of Heaven suffers violence and the violent take it by force.”
The Christian life isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves a struggle to continually lay hold of the Gospel. I hope you are encouraged to that end this Lord’s day.