Text & Context: Resurgence 2008 Conference

If you are a pastor or leader, there are some messages at Text and Context you don’t want to miss.

Driscoll begins the conference and comes out swinging as he upholds the importance of preaching.  Jesus ministry was initiated and shaped by preaching, the apostles engaged in regular, often daily, preaching.  One very memorable incident he relates is how his Mars Hill congregation grew by 80 people recently after he preached on Propitiation — and he lauds the power of a ‘non-seeker-sensitive’ approach.

John Piper presented a message on How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry.  This will definitely make my top ten this year.  Phenomenal insight by Piper, as he speaks with clarity and conviction on how Scripture must frame everything.  And he bemoans how church leaders preach side issues and assume the foundational issues and core doctrines in a way that they don’t appear in the pulpits.  See more about this message on my post here.

Pipers other two messages are well worth your attention.  I may write fuller posts about them at a later date.  Mahaney, plus a host of other Acts 29 speakers delivered messages.  I did not listen to them all (as I’m trying to be more selective in my listening). 

The good think to note is that this conference is not about contextualizing the gospel to the culture.  My initial reaction to this conference before knowing anything about it was to expel a post-modern groan. I’m getting so sick of the term ‘post-modern’, and I think the primary culprits to keeping this over used word alive are Christians.  I’m also tiring of the word ‘context.’  Piper and Driscoll do a great job in trying to steer this weighty post-modern/context-oriented focus back to Scripture (bravo!).

Text & Context page >>>

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Alan Cairns — another great Irish preacher

Alan Cairns was pastor of Faith Free Presbyterian Church, Greenville, SC, for 25 years before retiring.  He’s another strong Irish preacher, having faithfully served at churches in Dunmurry and Barrymoney in Ireland. I’ve been listening to his series on the Apostle Paul, and have greatly enjoyed his messages. He is Biblically solid and a pleasure to listen to.  There is a huge selection of sermons on audio covering a wide range of Scripture. 

Cairns at SermonAudio >>>

Cairns at Let the Bible Speak radio >>>

R.C. Sproul interviews Ben Stein

Ben Stein’s forthcoming movie ‘Expelled:  No Intelligence Allowed’ is a documentary look at how scientists and teachers are being persecuted for questioning Darwinism — and that in a country that upholds freedom of speech.

Sproul and Stein engage in a fascinating and enlightening look at the inconsistencies of the educational system and current scientific philosophy — which Stein calls the ‘Church of Darwin.’

The interview is on video only (until Ligonier converts it to mp3), so you may have to watch it online.  Not sure if it can be downloaded.  A copy can be purchased through Ligonier.

Sproul interviews Ben Stein >>>

Sinclair Ferguson, Reflections at 60

Sinclair Ferguson gave two informal talks reflecting on his life being 60 years in ministry.

The first talk focuses on the early years of his life, his conversion, his schooling and his time of sitting under the ministry of William Still. One of the memorable statements he made is that he says he sees very few churches that can be seen to have a proper concern for the ministry of the Word and the ministry of prayer. It either does not exist, or you have to look very hard to find shades of it.

In his second address, Ferguson reflects on the growth and influences of his theology, and discusses the many Christian theologians who shaped him through their books, as well as some professors and preachers.

Open iTunes Store. Search for Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). Go to Seminar Series. Then Preaching the Word: Reflections at 60.

How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry — John Piper’s Magnum Opus of Ministry

John Piper gave one of the most powerful addresses for pastors and preachers that I’ve ever heard.  He presented it at the Resurgence Text & Context Conference, a ministry of the Acts 29 Network.  The message title:  ‘How My Pastoral Ministry Shapes My Pulpit Ministry’.

There’s no fluff or bending to the culture here.  The culture of Heaven and the culture of imminent Hell overthrows the culture of the world in Piper’s view — which is correct.  Only in the last 3rd of the message does Piper reflect on the impact his pastoral ministry has on his preaching.  The main reason is because people don’t know what they need.  Scripture tells us we need a magisterial view of God’s character and the sense of life and death reality in the gospel.  God is their greatest need, and they don’t realize it until it’s been given to them.  A majestic sense God is the greatest application they need.

Piper spends most of his time elevating the role of preaching as being the vessel through which God speaks to his people. Piper defines preaching as ‘Expository Exaltation.’ The preacher is to expose the text, and then must exalt the text to it’s rightful place.  Preaching is an act of worship.  There are not two parts to the worship service, the worship and the other thing called preaching.  Preaching is exaltation, and therefore is worship.

Preachers are to catch people up into another world–to live in another realm, where we die in the world and we live for Christ.  Pep-talk preaching is profane, and it betrays a pastor who is not moved by the Word of God.  We must be moved by the Word of God so that our people will follow.

There is so much in this message that I’ve already been through it twice.  This will definitely make my top ten this year.

Text & Context page >>> 

2008 Shepherds’ Conference

As to be expected, this years Shepherds’ Conference was great, and it focused on the prime responsibilities of the church which are being clouded by a wide array of church growth strategies. I was fortunate enough to listen to a few sessions through the live feed, which was real treat.

The concern of this conference is to examine and challenge the contemporary church’s lopsided attention to meeting the culture at the expense of the universality of the transforming message of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

MacArthur kicks off with a look at what a church is, and compares today’s church growth movement with God’s church growth movement recorded in the church in Acts. An excellent, and even fearful, look at how God designed the church to function.

Rick Holland picked up the baton and examined lessons we need to learn from Nadab and Abihu, that those who approach God in leadership must approach God as a holy God. Phil Johnson looked at how Jesus and Paul engaged the culture in light of contemporary evangelicals focusing on trying to find ground for conversation and not confrontation as the New Testament outlines.

Steve Lawson brought out the big stick and hammered home the power and sufficiency of Scripture, and reinforced the truth that preachers are nothing without the power of Scripture at work behind them.

MacArthur did a Q&A.

Al Mohler trumpets the concern that we have lost the concept that Scripture is a matter of life and death, and have traded it for something far less and profane. He looks at what true preaching entails, as exemplified by Ezra. A true preacher must engage in exposition (read the text and explain it), and then apply that to the people. He focuses his message on Deuteronomy 4, and calls preachers to the urgency that exists for the church to recover true preaching as a matter of life and death.

MacArthur delivered two messages which his elders said were the two most important messages he preached the previous year. The first looked at Jesus’ words that pointed to the end of Judaism, which had deteriorated into a completely ungodly system. He concluded the conference by looking at the word ‘dulas’ in the New Testament which should be correctly translated ‘slave’, and shows how we have lost meaning by softening that term with the terms ‘servant’ or ‘bondservant,’ which according to MacArthur, is a tragedy in Bible translation.

This is a very important conference for church leaders to listen to carefully and examine their ministries under it’s light. The ramifications of missing the mark in ministry is not something to be taken lightly.

Shepherds’ Conference page >>>

Back to the tried and true

In case you didn’t notice, I tried to give the blog a face lift by using a new WordPress 3 column theme.  I liked the new look, however, the coding for category and archive searches yielded a truncated listing of posts that deactivated the links.  Although you could click the post title to get the full post with the active links, it was just too confusing.  I learned in a forum that the only way to correct it was to change two lines of php code — not something you can do when your blog is hosted by WordPress.

So, after all that hard work, we’re back to the old template, now with a new header.

Radical Reconciliation

Hal Hays was invited to speak at Scottsdale Bible Church last year, and he looked at the preminence of Christ as a reconciler of an alienated humanity, as Paul summarized in Colossians 1: 19-23.  He covers 4 aspects of reconciliation: the architect of reconciliation, the alienated who need reconciliation, the action that resulted in reconciliation, and the assumption verifying reconciliation.

Reconciliation is not only a glorious subject worthy of our mediation and awe, it protects us from the dangers of superstition and legalism.  Hays gives us a good reminder in summary form of this important doctrine.

Hal Hays is founder of Encouragement International, a ministry focused on training and supporting pastors in the Slavic countries.  He is also my brother-in-law and runs a fabulous daily blog.  If you have a blog reader, I recommend you subscribe to his feed.  It’s nothing but good, solid Bible teaching.

Radical Reconciliation mp3>>>

Dale Ralph Davis, 2 Samuel

If you’re looking at excellent preaching through Old Testament history, Davis is one you will want to hear.  Davis is well known for his ability to expound on Old Testament history, and has also written many very excellent commentaries on these.

This series is on 2 Samuel.

A Worshiper Before God’s Holiness mp3>>> 

A Friend Under God’s Covenant mp3>>> 

A Sinner Under God’s Grace mp3>>>

A Believer Under God’s Rod mp3>>> 

A Kingdom Under God’s Protection mp3>>>