My fellow pastor, Kevin, and I are at the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference in Louisville, Kentucky this week. T4G was founded by four pastors/scholars--Mark Dever, Al Mohler, C. J. Mahaney, and Ligon Duncan. Their passion is to unite people who are concerned about preaching the gospel in a biblical manner, and who are concerned about the abandonment of the Bible and biblical theology in many corners of the evangelical world today.
The day started, for Kevin and I, by meeting with fellow church planters who have also planted out of Bethlehem Baptist Church. This is the main reason I came to the conference, and it was worth all the effort and sacrifice it took to get here--not to say it was exactly "suffering" to come, but it did call for certain sacrifices of time and money and sleep. And believe me, this meeting was worth it, and a lot more.
I cannot tell you what a privilege it is to spend several hours with other brothers who are laying their lives down for the sake of the glory of Jesus Christ in their cities. I will write more about this later, but for now let me just publicly thank Jesus Christ for the honor of being in the room with such as these. I feel humbled, inspired, and energized to put my hand to the plow in the NW suburbs of Minneapolis.
After that meeting, we had lunch together and then it was off to the first session of the conference. The session was led by Ligon Duncan who is s the pastor of a church (sorry, can't remember which one) in Jackson, Mississippi and a leader or member of numerous evangelical organizations. His message was this: theology matters, and it exists for the glory of God, the joy of our souls, and the salvation of the world. It was a good message, and I was very much encouraged to continue in the way we are going at Glory of Christ.
Equally as moving to me was when Mark Dever, the MC of the week, asked all the preaching/senior pastors to stand up. He then had us remain standing if we had been in pastoral ministry for more than 5 years, 10 years, 20 years and so forth. In the end, one man remained standing--he had pastored for 56 years, 50 of which have been in the same church. The 5,000 or so attendees roared with applause, expressing their appreciation to God for sustaining this man and their admiration of this man for enduring in Christ and ministry for these many years. I cried. I was deeply touched by this moment.
There's still one more message to go today, although I will not be attending. I have to spend a couple of hours working on my sermon. Before that, a handful of us will be meeting with a professor from Southern Seminary (Louisville) named Don Whitney, and after that we'll be meeting with John Piper.
By the way, I'm not sure if they'll be posting the messages or not, but it can't hurt to google it and see what happens. Just type in T4G 2008 and let's see what happens.
Please continue praying for us, that God will give us eyes to see his glory, ears to hear his truth, and hearts to worship him and stay faithful unto death. Thanks for your partnership in Christ!