Ligonier’s National Conference is available on YouTube. The conference title is “Right Now Counts Forever.”
With our glorious future in view, Christians do not have less of a stake in the present, but infinitely more. As R.C. Sproul so often reminded us, right now counts forever. On March 18–20, 2021, Ligonier Ministries hosted its 2021 National Conference, celebrating fifty years since the ministry’s founding. Sinclair Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Joel Kim, Steven Lawson, John MacArthur, Stephen Nichols, Burk Parsons, and Derek Thomas considered the eternal significance of our everyday lives, equipping us to better serve the Lord, love our neighbors, and make Christ known.
From their website:
Conference Messages – Right Now Counts Forever >>>
The world today is not the same world many of us grew up in. The coming years will likely see big falling away from the church as “Christians” won by a false gospel of prosperity and self-fulfillment will begin to abandon those churches promises and prophecies have been shown empty. The falling away will also be fueled by a rise of persecution against Christians in Western society.
In this message John MacArthur addresses the alien gospel that has taken hold of much of the church, and he clarifies what the true gospel of the Bible teaches. He warns us that our Western society is moving toward a greater intolerance, even hostility, toward those who hold biblical convictions. The Equality Act will lay the ground work for this. But we need not be discouraged or fearful, rather we should be excited that God has placed us here for such a time as this.
MacArthur directs us to the example of the Apostle Paul and the persistent sufferings he endured while faithfully serving Christ, serving the church, and advancing the Gospel. By Paul’s example, he encourages Christians, and particularly pastors and leaders, to have the courage to stand for biblical truth in this world of growing hostility.
The Benefits of Suffering for Christ >>>
Josh Buice on the G3 Podcast talks with wife of pastor James Coates who was arrested and jailed for holding church services in Edmonton, Alberta. There’s a lot of misinformation about Coates and this situation floating around. Whatever your position on whether this is persecution or merely civil disobedience, this is a valuable podcast to listen to.
Update on James Coates >>>
Before his arrest Coates preached a sermon about his convictions on government overreach versus the God’s command to not forsake the gathering of the church.
Coates last sermon Directing Government to its Duty >>>
Jonathan Leeman and Mark Dever discuss the subject of the latest 9 Marks Journal, Heaven: Rejoicing in Future Glory. Dever asserts this is one of the most important roles of a pastor. He also observes that our current generation does not think deeply about heaven, we see it as escapism. This is reflected in the fact that modern hymnals tend to have perhaps ten songs on heaven, whereas hymnals in the 19th century and earlier would contain hundreds of hymns about heaven. As Spurgeon says in his autobiography, his job as a pastor is “to usher guided tours of Heaven.”
This is 9 Marks Pastors Talk podcast episode 156.
How Pastors Should Prepare their People for Eternity >>>
J. Todd Billings is a pastor who was diagnosed with terminal cancer a number of years ago. As he has grappled with his diagnosis, he has written two remarkable books: Rejoicing in Lament and The End of the Christian Life. Rejoicing in Lament helps us recover the language and purpose of lament that not only gives us expression for our confusion, pain and sorrow, but leads us to rejoicing in the character of God and his greater purposes.
The End of the Christian Life helps us to embrace our mortality so that we can truly live however many years God has in store for us.
Part of his research for The End of the Christian Life involved producing a podcast to talk with some key people whose writings helped him to grapple with his book. He has made those podcasts available on his website. The interviews are engaging and they challenge how we understand our end as Christians.
The End of the Christian Life podcast >>>
The End of the Christian Life book at Amazon >>>
Rejoicing in Lament book at Amazon >>>
For the holidays Glorious Films has put the music of their animated nativity musical on an online radio broadcast called Glorious Radio. The Promise: Birth of the Messiah has never had a musical album released, and just for the month of December it’s music is available to enjoy. Interspersed throughout are some songs from their upcoming feature, Prodigal The Musical.
Visit Glorious Radio >>>
Kevin Vanhoozer was interviewed at The Ministry of Motion Pictures discussing his theological work that he calls “theodrama” and talks about how it has application to Christian filmmakers who can be allies in the pastoral work of the church.
Dr. Vanhoozer has written numerous books exploring the metaphors of drama helping the church to see that doctrine isn’t intended to fill our minds, it’s intended to be put on display in the lives of God’s people and the church. His books include Pictures at a Theological Exhibition, Faith Speaking Understanding, Everyday Theology and The Drama of Doctrine.
There are 2 podcasts with Dr. Vanhoozer on this subject, The Drama of Doctrine and The Theological Potential of Christian Film.
The Theological Potential of Christian Film >>>
The Drama of Doctrine >>>
The free audio download for the month of January at ChristianAudio is Charles Spurgeon’s classic Morning and Evening.
From the ChristianAudio website:
Since the penning of Morning and Evening over 100 years ago, this devotional classic has become hugely popular and been a favorite for millions worldwide.
Get it here >>>
The free audio book at ChristianAudio is Augustine’s Confessions.
From the website:
The Confessions is at once the autobiographical account of Augustine’s faith and at the same time a compelling theology of Christian spirituality for everyone. Among the most important classics in Western literature, it continues to engage modern readers through Augustine’s timeless illustrations and beautiful prose. Augustine’s Confessions is a book to relish the first time through and then profoundly enjoy over a lifetime of revisiting
Get Confessions >>>
Sinclair Ferguson examines the life and preaching ministry of John Flavel. Flavel was a non-conformist preacher in the 17th century who was exiled from Dartmouth during the Great Ejection. He, along with many others, was not allowed to preach within five miles of any major population center. Consequently, he was devoted to ministering to a single flock in an out-of-the-way place in the south of England.
Flavel epitomized the Puritan style of preaching, which was characterized by three dimensions.
- The ministry of the gospel is a ministry of the Word of God
- The ministry of the Word of God is a ministry to this particular world.
- The ministry of the Word of God to this particular world by this particular worker.
This last dimension is something that is not well understood in our contemporary day, as sermons are reduced to mere facts and figures independent of personality. This didn’t sidestep the importance of carefully preaching the text. The Puritan sermon was a carefully wrought piece of work that began with a clear introduction to the text, an analysis of the key points of the text, an exposition of the truths enshrined in the text, and a clear explanation of how the particular truths arise from the text, and sensitivity in the handling of any difficulties. All of this would be done using plain speech and manifest love for the congregation.
Flavel was a remarkable illustration of this.
In fact, Flavel’s preaching and writing was very popular. A number of his books have remained in print and are available today.
Keeping the Heart, which expounded on the principles of Proverbs.
Divine Conduct; or The Mystery of Providence
Ferguson on John Flavel >>>