Advance 09

John Piper gathers a group of men who have a heart for the church to talk about various issues facing the church:  Bryan Chapell, Matt Chandler, Ed Stetzer, Danny Akin, Tyler Jones and Mark Driscoll.

There were some messages that stood out to me. Piper always is a treat to listen to and learn from.

As much as I have been struggling with Driscoll lately, his message “Mission Idolatry” was good stuff, much of the material drawn from G.K. Beale’s book We Become What We Worship, but applied to church and missions.

Ed Stetzer’s message “Keys to Understanding the Church” and the Kingdom does a good job of examining how many church plants and missional (I’m really getting sick of this term) movements have derailed from the purpose of the church.

Advance 09 Conference page >>>

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Enrusted with the Gospel 2009

What a privilege it is to be ministered to by God, through the likes of the men that are involved in the Gospel Coalition.  This years conference was focused on Paul’s second letter to Timothy.  The title should be gripping for those in ministry: Living the Vision of 2 Timothy.

It seems the headliner for Entrusted with the Gospel is Tim Keller’s message on idolatry, using Acts 19:21-41 as his text.  Tim looks at how Paul always seemed to attack the idols of the culture or place he preached before giving them the gospel.  Keller takes quite a detailed look at what constitutes idolatry and gives some very helpful thoughts and examples to help us think through this issue of idolatry. Tim points out that we live in a very idolatrous age, and even in the church we have our own systems of idolatry.

John Piper (2 Tim 1:1-12) tackled the subject of courage, as he examines the timidity of Timothy, and the boldness that Paul calls Timothy to.  Piper understands the gift that Timothy received through the laying on of hands was the white hot flame of courage to stand alone in the face of opposition.  Piper calls all pastors to be bold and courageous, because that is what Paul modeled, and it’s what the sheep need.  The sheep need bold leaders who will stand up courageously without wavering.  And Paul’s final motivation for Timothy is the fact that before the foundation of the world God chose Timothy to be his man.

Phil Ryken’s message (2 Tim 1:13-2:13) ‘The Pattern for Sound Words’

Mark Driscoll gave a very helpful look at rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:14 -26).  Mark’s message has the flavor of coming from the battlelines as he looks at quarrels about words, irreverent babble, and ignorant controversies,  and he humbly admits some of it comes from his own hand of failing.  A significant part of his message looks at categories of people who bring quarrels, babble and controversies into the church.  These categories are quite humorous and can be helpful, but we have to take care that we don’t put people so quickly into boxes as they struggle to grow into their faith.

K. Edward Copeland (2 Tim 3:1-9) looks at the subject of godlessness in the last days when men are ever learning but not able to come to the knowledge of the truth.  His message title is verycaptivating: Shadowlands: Pitfalls and Parodies of Gospel-Centered Ministry.

Brian Chapell (2 Tim 3:10-4:5) looks at what it means to preach the Word.  Chapell has a very rich section of 2 Timothy about all Scripture being God-breathed, and preaching the Word, being ready in season and out of season.

Aijith Fernando is National Director for Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka, and he has a unique perspective having come from a country that once was very Christian while under British rule, but the new nationalist fever in Sri Lanka is seeing a new wave of persecution of the church as a move to cast off the relics of the British occupation.  New legislation in their parliment attempts to make it illegal to evangelize anyone under the age of 18.  This has some serious implications for Aijith’s work with Youth for Christ, and his subject of missions is very gripping.

Ligon Duncan (2 Tim 4:6-22) looks at the subject of Finishing Well.

Don Carson concluded the conference with a discussion of what Paul meant in 1 Corinthians 9 when he said he became all things to all men, a widely abused scripture both liberally and conservatively. Carson does a masterful exposition of the text to draw the correct understanding of what Paul was saying, and how we should shape our ministry efforts by this principle.

The Q&A session was just marvelous.  The main focus was on how 2 Timothy and a Scripture-focused ministry works itself out in the ministry of the church.  Piper, Keller and Loritts provide impassioned pleas for church leaders to stay true to the teaching and preaching of Scripture at all points, and from that flows the shape of ministry.  Loritts said it best when he said, “We have to be careful that we believe that God is articulate.”  In other words, Scripture is God’s wise and powerful articulation to his people, and it should be treated as such.  Piper said, “If Scripture bores you, get out of the pulpit.”

If you are in ministry, this conference will challenge, instruct and encourage you.

Entrusted with the Gospel >>>

Videos at Christianity Today >>>

Carson and Driscoll at Xenos

The 2008 Xenos Summer Institute conference this year was titled “True to the Word, True to Our Mission” and most of the messages are in response to the Emergent Church movement. Don Carson, Mark Driscoll and many others were involved in this conference, which was held this past July.

Both Carson and Driscoll bring well informed backgrounds to bear on the dangers of the Emergent church.

Don Carson has studied this movement extensively, and his book Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church is one of the best overviews to the causes, challenges and effects of the Emergent church.

Mark Driscoll began as one of the leading Emergent church leaders, beginning Mars Hill Church under that banner, but  has since separated himself from the more destructive elements of this movement, and has become one of it’s strongest critics.

Don and Mark’s messages provide  a good perspective on this movement, both pro and con. In spite of  this movement appearing to be dying a rapid death, there are a lot of lessons the church can learn  in it’s wake.

Don Carson’s messages:

Evaluating a Complex Movement mp3 >>>

A Biblical Meditation on Experience & Truth mp3 >>>

Mark Driscoll’s messages:

How the Local Church can reach our Postmodern Culture mp3 >>>

A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church mp3 >>>


The Power of Words and the Wonder of God; 2008 Desiring God Conf. online

This years Desiring God Conference was unexpected and wonderful.  It was one of the most unusual, and yet very practical conferences I’ve heard.

Piper’s message on Christian eloquence was very helpful in wrestling through issues that I think we seldom wrestle with as preachers and teachers.  John brought us face to face with a proper dividing of the term eloquence, in the negative as words used to self glorify, and in the positive as words that glorify God with powerful and effective communication.

Driscoll came out swinging with humility, as he turned to Scripture’s rough language.  Mark did a masterful job at explaining when rough language is appropriate and when it is not.  He also shared some amazing things that are happening at Mars Hill, both good and shocking.  This was one message not to miss.  Highly practical and sobering.

Dan Taylor brought a helpful perspective on the power of story and the place of creativity in the lives of Christians.  I had not known of Dan before this conference, but since then, I’ve ordered his book ‘Tell Me A Story’ to further my understanding of his perspective of story. 

Sinclair Ferguson did an amazing and very helpful broad exposition and application of the tongue, as found in the book of James.  This is one message I will have to go back and take notes for, because there is just so much information packed into Ferguson’s message.

Bob Kauflin gave one of the most easily digestable arguments for the place of contemporary Christian music that I’ve ever heard, by using his piano to make his points. Bob also very wisely explained the role and place of music in Christian worship.  A very helpful and clarifying message. 

Paul Tripp tackled the truth that our words and our talk is a reflection of our hearts.

2008 Desiring God Conf. page >>>

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 >>>