Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Gospel Coalition Day 1

As a first time conference goer it was exciting this morning to drive to the convention center and get started with the day. I was not sure really what to expect, but I was praying it would be good.

I ended up being pretty overwhelmed at first because there were already a lot of people walking around forming lines. Checking in was fairly easy and I was given a free copy of the ESV Study Bible (not sure what I am going to do with it as I already have a copy).

Then I went into the exhibit hall. It can easily be described in one word, books. There were books everywhere, it was a reformed pastors dream world of books. I calmly went around collecting all the free books from the different tables, signed up on the various email lists, and checked everything out. It was overwhelming again for me and I had to go back to the car, put all the books away (that ESV Study Bible is heavy) and then sit for a moment.

It was getting close to the opening session so I went in the main auditorium with 3,000 chairs setup in the room. I found a couple of friends and was able to sit in the first 10 rows (very exciting). I decided that I would only take notes that I would write in my Bible, partly because I just wanted to listen, partly because all of the talks are available, but mostly because I just wanted to interact with it as I heard it.

Tim Keller shared first and spoke from Acts 19, the riot at Ephesus. He mainly focused on the idea of idol worship which he explained as taking good things in creation and making them ultimate things. He said we do this personally, culturally and religiously.

I think one of most powerful moments for me was when he discussed the idea of how we sacrifice our kids on the alter of our idols today. This comes through working from 7 in the morning to 7 at night everyday and then on weekends as well. We leave our kids and families abandoned so we can keep the lifestyle that we demand. He also touched on how we need to, as Christians, be influential enough to where we change culture and upset culture because that is precisely what Paul did everywhere he went. Paul attacked the idols that were controlling the people and moved them towards Christ, it was dangerous work that almost got him killed over and again.

Then after that mind blow, John Piper comes up. Probably one of the best moments of the day is when DA Carson, the MC for the morning called John Piper a dog of the Bible. He basically said that Dr. Piper takes the scripture and treats it like a dog with a bone, just ripping it apart until nothing is left. Dr. Piper of course kept referring to it all throughout his talk and it was awesome.

Dr. Piper's challenge was essentially the theme of the whole book which he found in 2 Tim. 1:6. We are called, as pastors, to continuously fan into the white hot flame that has been put inside of us through the spirit of God. He then proceeded to reveal that the only way we can feed this flame is through the grace of Jesus.

His greatest teaching on the passage came when he taught that the ending of each of Paul's letters has the thought may God's grace go with you. At the beginning of all of Paul's letters it states in some fashion that it's God's grace to you. His thought on this was that the word of God is revealed it is coming into you, and then after the word is given it will and should stay with you. Great Stuff.

The evening consisted of Phil Ryken sharing on the importance of succession of leaders and mentors. The phrase that stuck out to me was "it takes a village to train a child, and it takes a village of pastor to raise one pastor." It has been a blessing for me to see the people God has put in my life to help raise me up as I pursue being a pastor.

Finally, the night ended with Mark Driscoll. His was not the most academic but it cut to the core of where a lot of guys probably find themselves at in ministry. His humor was amazing and his love of the gospel is great. It is obvious that his gift from the Lord is his incredible insight into the hearts of others who are called to pastor. He shared about three types of places we can find ourselves in and how those places can lead us deeper into our walk with Christ.

The notes for all the talks are being posted to The Resurgence website.


Joeyolsen@gmail.com said...

Keller's comments about working a 7-7 and sacrificing our kids to the life we demand is very powerful. I can imagine this is very convicting for big preachers like him and the other guys there.

Glad to see someone finds driscoll's humor funny :)

Travis Marsh said...

I bet you see the sacrifice quite a bit in your job.