If you are a pastor, elder or worship leader, how much have you thought about the public prayers that define your Sunday morning service? If you have not, may I recommend this message by Terry Johnson, pastor of Independant Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia.
Terry provides a very strong, and convicting, case for well thought out public prayer. He rightly states that our the state of prayer in most churches emphasizes the spontaneous prayer that is more often plagued by cliché and empty words. Prayer is more often caught than taught, and for that reason, the minister should offer a great deal of public prayer that is careful, saturated in Scripture, and distinct from our rambling, personal prayer lives.
On a more sober note, Terry suggests that the public prayer life of a church is reflects the true heart of the minister’s dependence upon God. Churches that have nothing more than a few token, thoughtless prayers reveal a leadership that is more dependent upon self than on God.
This message is not merely theoretical, it is full of ideas and suggestions that can easily be implemented. But the foundation for healthy public prayer is a sincere personal prayer life.
Johnson references Hughes Oliphant Old quite frequently, and recommends his book Leading in Prayer: A Workbook for Ministers. I have this book and frequent it myself, and I can recommend it from my own experience. It’s an excellent resource.
Have you ever wondered how the architecture of the temple and tent of meeting in the Old Testament fit into the worship of God? Have you ever wondered what that would mean for the church today?
Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah held the Architecture Conference in February of 2010, and featured Terry Johnson, Hughes Oliphant Old and architectural historian, David Gobel, speaking about the architectural setting of Christian Worship. The subtitle of the conference: Exploring the Intersection of Architecture, Theology, and Worship.
The messages by Old are insightful and very thought provoking. Gobel gives quite a bit of the historical basis for the architecture from cathedral to modern day church. You’ll be surprised to learn that most church architecture is created with a specific purpose other than practicality. Gobel gives us the why’s and when’s of how churches have been designed.
This years Twin Lake Fellowship was held in April. I’ve been slowly listening to these messages since April, and while many are very good, there are a few that stand out.
Ligon Duncan gave two messages that deal with the incredibly important issue of theology, what it is for, and how systematic theology is important for pastoral ministry. He has touched on these issues in other conferences, but here we have two very strong messages dealing with this head on.
Ligon Duncan’s message is a tour de force of a defense of the need for systematic theology. In a day when the spirit of the age is to assert “deeds, not creeds,” and views theology with suspicison, this is a much needed message. Duncan unravels many arguments raised against systematic theology. The major falacy is that you cannot not have a theology. Everyone operates on a theology. And to think you can act without theology, you’re just kidding yourself. We are all theologians. The question is, are you a good one or a bad one.
Two other messages not to miss: Doug Kelly’s message on Deuteronomy 23 and David Robertsons message on Emergent Calvinism.
Doug Kelly–God Turns Curses into Blessings (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)
Derek Thomas–The Majesty of God (Romans 11:33-36)
Ligon Duncan–What is Theology For? (Titus 1:1, 1 Tim 6:2-4)
Ron Gleason–on Herman Bavinck
Ligon Duncan–Systematic Theology and Pastoral Ministry
David Robertson–Emergent Calvinism
Terry Johnson– Biblical, Historical, Theological Case for Reformed Worship
Jonathan Leeman–What in the World is the Missional Church?
What is the Twin Lakes Fellowship? From the website…
The Twin Lakes Fellowship is a ministerial fraternal devoted to the encouragement of Gospel ministry and ministers, and to the promotion of healthy biblical church planting. The Twin Lakes Fellowship is a ministry of the Session of the historic First Presbyterian Church, Jackson, MS (in conjunction with several other PCA sessions and ministers in Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina). This fellowship is designed to pursue a twofold purpose: (1) to encourage ministers and churches to promote the work of church planting through their local congregations and (2) to encourage ministers in their personal growth in grace, so as to maximize their effectiveness in promoting the work of the Gospel.
Ligon Duncan kicked off the conference with a very strong, clarifying call for faithful expositional preaching.
David Meredith, who is a pleasure to listen to, took on the subject of evangelism, and gave his impressions of the Evangelism Explosion material. Don`t miss this one.
Doug Kelly, Carl Trueman, Sean Lucas, Derek Thomas and Terry Johnson all gave messages worth a listen.