I arrived back in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon, filled with a myriad of thoughts about the three days that many of us spent in Louisville. There are numerous bloggers who have provided a better coverage of what happened than I can. Tim Challies and Shaun Nolan both have comments on the different speakers and their messages. I can't duplicate their outstanding work, but would like to add some of my own thoughts.
People are buzzing - and rightly so - about John Piper's message. While each speaker was outstanding (I did not get to hear John Macarthur due to having to leave for the airport), John Piper seemed in the role of the OT prophet. If you get no other message from the conference, you must listen to that one, though I have to wonder if the impact will be the same. Some things are moments, events, and cannot be adequately replicated.
The wonderful people at Sovereign Grace have already made the sessions available for purchase. An MP3 of all of the messages (not the panels) is available for only 11. It is a must.
The singing, led by Bob Kauflin on the piano, was moving. Hearing 2800 men singing the great cross-centered hymns of yesterday and today was a great experience. A CD of just the music would be worth having.
As far as my own life, there were two things that stood out to me. One was the encouragement that I received from the messages to keep doing what I am doing in terms of preaching expositorily and focusing on the Gospel. You other pastors know all of the stuff that we get bombarded with that focuses on a different message and management methods. What a refreshing drink of water this conference was for that alone.
Secondly, I was deeply encouraged at the age of the participants. There is obviously a growing movement in our day that transcends denominations, is vested in our younger men, that affirms the historic Gospel and doctrines of grace. I would estimate that 2/3 of those in attendance were 45 and under.
Other highlights for me included striking up a friendship with fellow-Pennsylvanian Shaun Nolan, riding home from the conference with Will Metzger, author of the book Tell the Truth, used by God in evangelism training for 25 years, praying with 6 other pastors from Texas on the way to the airport about my son and one other man's father and their need for Christ, the fantastic accommodations, Ligon Duncan's rap with his brother, the banter between the four founders of T4G, Mark Dever's warm MC'ing, the amazing generosity that led to giving away over a dozen fine books, CJ Mahaney's challenge to watch our lives closely.
I could go on.
It's happening again in 2008, and Lord willing I will be there, even if I don't like to fly.
Shortly after Christmas, my daughter Cindy decided that we needed to do something with our living room. So she began to scrape off two layers of wallpaper and more layers of paint from the plaster walls of our home. It was being done bit-by-bit and had come to resemble what my wife called "early crack house." While I was away, to my astonishment and gratitude, my small group worked for three nights (and during the day when possible) to finish stripping the wallpaper, removing the glue, spackling, priming and painting the walls. Their motive was to express appreciation, and it did that and more.
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