Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Great Quotes from the Pastor's Conference

So far I have had an incredible time at the Pastor's Conference here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It has been good for my soul to be challenged and encouraged to be intentional about sharing Christ with the lost, be around men who are passionate about the Lord Jesus, sing at the top of my lungs without thinking about 'church stuff,' and spending some extended time with my dad. You can read, watch, and/or listen to all the messages I have heard by simply clicking here.

This is a quote from the heart of Piper's message on George Whitefield. I commend you to read, watch, or listen to the whole thing. But for now, let this quote as to why Whitefield preached the way he did whet your appetite for more:

"But the question is: Why was Whitefield “acting”? Why was he so full of action and drama? Was he, as Stout claims, “plying a religious trade”?41 Pursuing “spiritual fame”?42 Craving “respect and power”?43 Driven by “egotism”?44 Putting on “performances”45 and “integrating religious discourse into the emerging language of consumption”?46

I think the most penetrating answer comes from something Whitefield himself said about acting in a sermon in London. In fact, I think it’s a key to understand the power of his preaching—and all preaching. James Lockington was present at this sermon and recorded this verbatim. Whitefield is speaking.
“I’ll tell you a story. The Archbishop of Canterbury in the year 1675 was acquainted with Mr. Butterton the [actor]. One day the Archbishop . . . said to Butterton . . . ‘pray inform me Mr. Butterton, what is the reason you actors on stage can affect your congregations with speaking of things imaginary, as if they were real, while we in church speak of things real, which our congregations only receive as if they were imaginary?’ ‘Why my Lord,’ says Butterton, ‘the reason is very plain. We actors on stage speak of things imaginary, as if they were real and you in the pulpit speak of things real as if they were imaginary.’”
“Therefore,” added Whitefield, ‘I will bawl [shout loudly], I will not be a velvet-mouthed preacher.”47
This means that there are three ways to speak. First, you can speak of an unreal, imaginary world as if it were real—that is what actors do in a play. Second, you can speak about a real world as if it were unreal—that is what half-hearted pastors do when they preach about glorious things in a way that says they are not as terrifying and wonderful as they are. And third is: You can speak about a real spiritual world as if it were wonderfully, terrifyingly, magnificently real (because it is). "

The third option, of course, is how preachers must preach!

A second quote is from Mark Dever on our being silent in witnessing. He said, "Our silence is not a matter of neutrality. You need to tell yourself that. Our silence is a matter of guilt and sin."

Third, Dever freed the Gospel-sharer up by reminding him/her that we are simply charged to tell the message while relying on God to do the impossible: "We can confidently tell people the basic message of the gospel and trust that God’s Spirit will faithfully pick up our message and use it to save people."

A fourth and final quote comes from Matt Chandler. I will simply provide the quote here and urge you to go and listen to his very timely message for pastors living in today's world:

"I think there is an undue amount of pressure on all of us that success is somehow tied to numerical attendance. You don’t help your people by soft-peddling the gospel and the commands of God.
Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. (1 Timothy 4:12)
I learned this one the hard way. Two years ago, this was probably one of the most heartbreaking things in my years of ministry. I was at lunch with some people that had just gotten back from a missions trip in India.
I was listening to different people and was hearing a story. There were two buses that took our crew and another crew to get out to a place. Our crew decided to tell the best joke they’ve ever heard. When they pull up, the other group gets out and there’s tears running down their face.
It disturbed me. I couldn’t let it go. I didn’t know what to do with it. Why, on the way out to do missions, are people who are covenant members of The Village doing knock-knock jokes when the people in the other van are calling out for mercy to God?
One morning I was reading the Bible and journaling my thoughts. I had a surly professor in college who I loved and hated. He had an extreme, high expectation of you. He said, “Five years in, what’s wrong with your church is wrong with you.” I don’t know if he’s right, but the Holy Spirit said, “Remember?” I laid on the floor and sobbed because my witty, sarcastic humor had been embedded into The Village so much that on the way out to such a dark, spiritual destination, we’re doing knock-knock jokes. It devastated me. I constantly pray that God would protect the people of The Village from me.
Be the example in word, in deed, in purity, in love, in prayer. Be the example. "

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Where I Will Be February 2nd, 3rd, and 4th

I have the wonderful opportunity of traveling with my dad to Minneapolis, MN this week to attend Desiring God Ministries' Pastor's Conference. The theme of the conference is: Commending Christ: The Pastor, The Church, and the Perishing.

For anyone who is interested in following along with what I will be hearing and learning, there will be a live blog of the event. You can follow along by clicking here.

If I have time and am able, I plan to blog some of my own thoughts on this blog. Please pray that God would speak to my heart as I learn how to be a better evangelist and lead Wynne Baptist to be better at evangelism. Also pray that my dad and I have some wonderful and quality time together. As you all know, he is my hero and I simply cannot wait to spend three days with him. What a gift from the Lord!

David Platt on the Albert Mohler Radio Program

Many of you know that Dr. David Platt, pastor of the Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham, AL is a dear friend of mine in the Lord. He and I had the privilege of attending the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary together at the same time. This past Friday he was interviewed by Dr. Russel Moore on the Albert Mohler Radio Program. I encourage anyone and everyone to listen to the program. The topic is the importance of the church and is a very timely message and a much needed one for our day. Of course, David's words are Bible-saturated, Christ-exalting, and God-soaked. Listen and heed what he and Dr. Moore advise regarding the church.

You can go directly to download the program by clicking here.