“Time spent nourishing a broken heart is time lost for eternity.”
–John MacArthur, “Triumphantly Encouraged: The Privilige of Ministry, Part 1” (1997 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference)
We’re almost home, awaiting our fly from the Miami airport. It’s been a great trip, refreshing in all the most wonderful ways.
First, we were able to connect with some of my oldest and dearest friends. It was a real treat for me to have time together with Peter Rochelle, a brother I consider my first pastor and first example of faithful exposition, and at the same time to hang out with Mark Dever, a brother I consider my second pastor and most formative mentor when it comes to the life of the church. A real treat.
Then there was catching up with old friends and new. It was fun for me to introduce Bentley, my assistant pastor, and Stephen, new seminarian at Southeastern and former director of youth and missions, to my brother Clyde Alston, perhaps one of the most faithful servants you’ll ever meet and a real Barnabas to me. The ribs at Applebee’s were great, and the concrete from Goodberry’s hit the spot!
Folks at FBC will be very encouraged at Stephen’s start in seminary. He has established some really good routines and is thinking in all the right ways about building fellowship and relationships with others. He’s found a really strong church, North Wake Baptist Church. He’s enjoying his classes and has some fine teachers. And he says he’s probably doing better spiritually than at any point in his life. On a personal level, it was probably most encouraging to get an update on Stephen.
The conference itself was outstanding. In a nutshell, I think the overall unofficial theme that emerged was “God does the work; trust Him.” Each of the speakers addressed preaching and pastoral ministry in some way and the Lord instructed us all.
Mark Dever began with an exposition of Mark 4. He unfolded two parables that demonstrate that it’s the word that does the work and that the advancement of the kingdom does not depend on us. Listen to this sermon if you’re a pastor who has trouble sleeping at night because you worry about anything in your church.
Baptist21 sponsored a lunchtime panel discussion on “Great Commission Churches.” Daniel Aiken, Mark Leiderbach, J.D. Greear, Mark Dever and I had a fun but informative time fielding questions on this broad theme. The first few minutes feature a spirited, friendly exchange between J.D. and Mark on multi-site churches.
Dr. Akin addressed us from Ecclesiastes 12:9-14, “The Preacher on Preaching.” I found the emphasis on choosing our words carefully very helpful. What a privilege to use the gift of language to communicate about a God who speaks through His word.
My man Mike McKinley, looking very stylish in the new specs, served us from Luke 10 on the centrality of listening to Jesus. Excellent exposition that demonstrated the liberating power of making the word and listening central to our Christian lives.
C.J. Mahaney closed the night with an insightful and encouraging exposition of 2 Tim 4:1-5. If you struggle against impatience and unrealistic expectations as I do, C.J.’s meditation on pastoral discernment and skill and sanctification is pure relief and help.
I had the privilege of addressing the topic, “Will It Preach? Exposition in Non-White Contexts.” We considered some objections to expositional preaching arising out of certain cultural assumptions, and then considered Neh. 8 as an example and apologetic of exposition.
There were lively panel discussions following each message. Those exchanges are often some of the most informative.
I assume some audio will be up at some point soon. In the meantime, Andrew Sherwood live-blogged the conference here.
Reading God’s Providences is notoriously difficult. Who can peer into the fathomless mysteries of God’s wise rulings in creation?
But almost immediately after being told I couldn’t board my flight yesterday, the Lord gave me a sense that something precious would be the reward of this providence. I hadn’t realized it at the time, but I needed refreshing.
The Lord has used His people to abundantly answer this need. Today I read a couple of tributes given at the funeral of a dear saint back at FBC. the remembrances of this man’s life continue to stir in me a desire to live a deeper life of joy in Christ. Five minutes of reading opened my heart.
This morning I sat in on a systematic theology Sunday school class, and as I listened to Paul Miller meditate on the character of God, my God appeared so large and great.
Then, Greg Gilbert preached what must be the most beautiful sermon in the Psalms I’ve ever heard. My Jesus rose so magnificently from the lines of Psalm 20! How wonderful to see our Lord with the eyes of faith and be left in awe of His love and life! Listen to this sermon attentively, without distraction, Bible open, heart praying and hoping.
Came back for the evening sermon and Chris Erwin preached 1 John 5:14 with such clarity, power, and encouraging care… I was left really desiring to pray and pray long.
I’m missing the saints back at FBC, but I’m rejoicing in how wide and lovely is the body of Christ. I think I needed this spiritual shot in the arm before boarding a flight to South Africa. I praise the Lord His comforts overflow in our lives (2 Cor. 1:5). Romans 1:12 has been so abundantly true in my brief, unexpected time with Christ’s people in this small part of the vineyard.
Here’s what’s up so far:
A Minister That Gaurds Against Heresies
Pastor Eric C. Redmond
A Sign From God
Pastor Eric C. Redmond
The Abiding Nature of The Moral Law
Pastor Eric C. Redmond
The Christian Writer in the Public Square
Elder John R. Lee
The Great Object of Christ’s Mission
Pastor Vernon Allen
The Souls Cry for God
Pastor Vernon Allen
What is the Gospel
Pastor Anthony Carter
This year’s theme was “Spreading the Gospel,” expositions from the Book of Acts. Audio is here. As is the case every year, the fellowship was rich and refreshing.
The conference talks included:
A Kingdom Mandate (Acts 1)
The…Holy Spirit (Acts 2)
Exclusivity of Jesus(Acts 4)
Purity in the Church (Acts 5)
…Church Planting (Acts 13)
The Blessings of Opposition (Acts 16:19-40)
This year, Sis. Evelina Thomas joined us and blessed us in song. Here’s a sample, “There Is A Fountain Filled with Blood,” a song that stunningly enough she had never sang before. Enjoy!
Next year’s theme is “None Better Than Christ: The Supremacy of Christ in the Book of Hebrews”. Carter, Jonas and myself will be returning, Lord willing, along with our dear brother Redditt Andrews, Pastor of Soaring Oaks Prebyterian Church in Elk Grove, California.
Don’t miss next year! Make this one of the spiritual investments you make in your life and church!
A clear, compelling, and life-giving sermon on John 3:14-17.
Allistair Begg on gospel ministry. Typical, clear Begg. And laugh out loud funny at about 18 minutes.
Together for the Gospel
Registration is open for T4G ’10–The (Unadjusted) Gospel. See here.
The (Unadjusted) Gospel. That’s a topic worth thinking about for several days together with several thousand other pastors and church leaders. Don’t you think?
The good news does not adjust. It’s always the same and it’s always good. Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, proclaims a message that’s the same yesterday, today, and forever. So should we.
We hope you will join us in Louisville April 2010 to think about that message and why it’s the heart of ministry.
Ronald Alexander, son of the Rev. Eric Alexander, has built a website in honor of his father’s preaching and teaching ministry. (HT: Challies) The site includes over 20 years of exposition from Alexander the elder’s ministry at St. George’s Tron in Glasgow, Scotland. You’ll also find a brief biography of Alexander.
From the site’s welcome page:
Eric Alexander has spent his adult life serving Jesus Christ, in His Church, as a minister of His Word. He has preached Christ exclusively from Holy Scripture, convinced that the Bible is the only reliable and sufficient revelation God has given us of His Son.
The conviction behind all Eric Alexander’s preaching is that Scripture is fundamental to the Church’s life and continuance, and therefore it is the exposition of Scripture which is fundamental to the Church’s pattern of activity.
As the years have passed and the world has changed, he has grown ever more convinced of the urgent priority of summoning the church to the Apostolic priority expressed by the Apostles themselves in Acts 6v4; “We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word.”
Some things I trust have benefitted my soul recently:
The Fight for Joy (Psalm 42-43)
J. M. Stiles:
Getting the Big Picture (1 Cor. 9:18-27)