Piper’s Preaching

For the past three days I was attending a pastors’ conference in Seattle sponsored by Resurgence and Acts 29 ministries via online. What drew me to this conference is not particularly their ministries or Mark Driscoll but John Piper. To be more specific, the topics that Piper was asked to preach (which I’m grateful to Driscoll for assigning those particular topics).

Those three messages are some of the best preaching of John Piper in my estimate. And these messages are particularly important for pastors to take heed to though not exclusive for them.

My hats off to Resurgence and Acts 29 guys for allowing live stream of the entire conference for free.

On a different note, if you haven’t heard the Shepherds’ Conference next week will also provide live streaming. Praise the Lord for technology.

Post-Conference Thought

What a weekend this has been at 2007 Desiring God National Conference! Thank you Lord!

We’ve closed our church this weekend so that many of us can attend. That’s one of the benefits for being a church-plant and having people that are so flexible and hungering for God’s truth. Not only we all have been edified, refreshed, challenged, but also, greatly encouraged by other saints, especially, by our own folks. Their receptivity to Bible-saturated preachings and teachings and let’s-immediately-apply-God’s truth intention truly humbles me as their pastor.

In case you’ve missed out this weekend, the whole conference can be heard or seen here.

Registration Now Open

If you haven’t heard, the registration for 2007 Desiring God National Conference is now open. Allow me to give you some reasons why you should attend:

  1. How often you get an opportunity to hear all these speakers like this in one place? Personally, I’m looking forward to hearing Jerry Bridges in person. Though his writings have influenced me deeply, I have never met or heard him in person. Also, without any explanation needed from me, I’m just so looking forward to seeing one of my heroes of faith coming out here from my hometown.
  2. If you’re not already familiar with most of the speakers, then this would be a great opportunity to be exposed to some of God’s servants. You’d be amazed to know how many professing Christians have never heard of John MacArthur in this part of the country where I serve. They’re like “John who?” And then I’m tempted to respond “Do you know Jesus?”
  3. An event like this helps you to see that you and/or your church are not the only ones that are laboring for the Kingdom. As a matter of fact, how often do you worship and fellowship with other like-minded Christians that are outside of your circle or comfort zone? It’s not healthy to be locked up or be confined to what you’re always used to (cultural or theological tradition or even both). Go out, take a fresh air, look around and observe, and learn from others. You’ll either appreciate what you already have (or continue to maintain) or appreciate seeing things from a different (or better) perspective. It’s a sign of pride if you think you got everything down and you don’t need to (or you can’t) learn from others.
  4. If you’re a pastor, encourage the people from your fellowship to attend. This way, they’ll hear from other like-minded men that you’re not the only one who affirms what you affirm. This way, your people may appreciate you more knowing that they’ve heard the same message that you’ve been faithfully preaching all along. It’s always encouraging and refreshing to hear same old truths from different lips.
  5. The quality of Desiring God conference is superb. This past February, I took our leadership to DG Pastors’ Conference (for the first time) and we walked away with a sense of being drenched with God’s blessings through the folks at DG ministry. Plus, receiving some good free books didn’t hurt either.
  6. You may bump into some old friends or meet new folks. For me, I got to see some of my old seminary friends, and also had a friend fly-in from East Coast. Plus, I got to meet some new folks. It’s a great place to network, especially, as a church-planter. When I meet people I usually tell others about Sovereign Grace Bible Church and where we’re located, and etc. You’d be amazed how many people are willing to pray for me, our church, and etc. So, why miss out on blessing opportunity like this? That’s why I’m encouraging all of our folks to attend if possible. As they meet other Christians (hopefully, mission-minded folks) and our church-plant comes up in their conversation, what a support it will be having people praying for us!
  7. Last, but not least, you’ll be fed spiritually big time! At times, you may feel like you’re drinking water out of fire-hydrant but it’s so worth it for your soul. If you’re serious about learning from some of God’s choicest instruments, register now and save some bucks.

2007 Desiring God Pastors’ Conference – Part 5

This is the final comment on the 2007 DG Pastors’ Conference.

WEDNESDAY

The session six was led by William Mackenzie, the founder of Christian Focus Publications (along with Mentor and others), and he delivered a message “Words for the World: Rejoicing in God’s Global Use of Christian Literature.” In his sermon, he articulately makes a strong plea as to why pastors (including all Christians) must read, read, and more read. To listen to his sobering message, click here.

This was then followed by the final session of Questions and Answers with the speakers (excluding R.C. Sproul). To hear various helpful exchanges, click here.

Here’s some of my final thought.

img_0425.JPGThe DG celebrated their 20th year of the pastors’ conference, and the theme this year was on the holiness of God. They could have come up with different topics, but God sovereignly moved the leadership of DG on this particular theme. I can’t help but to think that all the messages and blessings from this conference could not have come better time for me and my wife and the men who joined me at this conference. My wife is rejoicing with me today how spiritually refreshed we are at this time. It was no accident or coincident that we heard what we heard. God’s timing is perfect, and I have been reminded once again that God is absolutely sovereign in all that he does for his own glory.

2007 Desiring God Pastors’ Conference – Part 4

Continuing from the previous recaps on Tuesday.

After the second session with Thabiti, we got to hear R.C. Sproul on the third session. We read from Mark 4:35-41 as his text to preach “The Holiness of Christ.” All I can say here is that I’ve never heard anyone preach that passage like that before! To listen to his message, click here.

After lunch, for session 4, we heard John Piper’s presentation: “Holy Faith, Worthy Gospel, World Vision: Andrew Fuller’s Broadsides Against Sandemanianism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Global Unbelief.” That is his actual sermon title!

I don’t know anybody who passionately makes a dead saint alive like Piper. We all got a good dose of what a superb biographical preaching is. Piper wore several hats in his presentation, which includes a historian, systematic theologian, preacher, apologist, and exegete. After listening to Piper’s persuasion to get to know Fuller, I can’t wait to read The Armies of the Lamb: The Spirituality of Andrew Fuller by Michael A.G. Haykin, which I purchased. To listen to Piper’s message on Andrew Fuller, click here.

After dinner, and after a very long singing time (somewhat physically exhausting) R.C. Sproul read from Leviticus 10:1-7 to preach “Holiness and Justice.” Yes, Leviticus! I mean, when was the last time you heard a sermon from Leviticus? Once again, we rejoiced in hearing a powerful message from Dr. Sproul. To listen to “Holiness and Justice” click here.

I ended this day with praying with men in the hotel room, and then crashed in my hotel room!

2007 Desiring God Pastors’ Conference – Part 3

Continuing from the previous recap on Tuesday.

After the special breakfast seminar on children, we moved into the main room for the morning session. After the introduction by John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile read his text from Ezekiel, chapters 8 and 9 to preach “The Glory of Holiness in the Life of the Pastor.” For those of you who don’t know him, he’s the one whom I had the permission to post series of “How to Prevent a Church Split” and “What a Good Pastor is To Do?” on my blog previously. From the text, he gave 10 implications to challenge the pastors.

  1. Magnify God in preaching.
  2. Choose your leaders wisely.
  3. Take oversight of the people. Don’t shrink from this. Make pastoral observations.
  4. Be clear about justification and sanctification.
  5. Meditate on the fact that judgment must begin at the household of God first.
  6. Meditate on the judgment of the lost.
  7. Surround ourselves with those who mourn over sins.
  8. Regenerate membership reflects the holiness of God, which reflects the glory of God.
  9. Commit ourselves to intercession.
  10. The joy of gospel-focused.

Throughout his sermon he pointed out that the holiness of God demands the holiness of God’s people.

To listen to “The Glory of Pervasive Holiness in the Life of a Pastor” click here.

Stay tune for Part 4.

2007 Desiring God Pastors’ Conference – Part 2

Continuing from the previous recap.

TUESDAY

Less than 5 hours of sleep, my wife and I woke up and joined other men for special breakfast seminar on God-honoring children’s ministry led by David Michael, Pastor for Parenting & Children’s Discipleship at Bethlehem Baptist. Unfortunately, this message is not on the web. However, here are some of the points/principles that he mentioned on how to have a God-honoring children’s ministry in our churches:

  • Children are not the center of the universe (including in the church). Life does not revolved around them. This is the issue between man-centered vs. God-centeredness. We (the church) needs to faithfully teach parents and children that we exist to glorify God, not ourselves.
  • Avoid using the Bible only to teach morals. If so, we’re simply raising up a bunch of moralists and Pharisees.
  • Have the entire family members to bring their Bibles to church. This is a critique on the contemporary churches where more and more the Bible is disappearing or invisible in the hands of people who come to church. Although the Bible verses on the screen can be useful in the worship service (though this can be debatable), but it should never replace the Bible in their hands. The children learn by watching their parents, and the parents must diligently model and teach the importance of bringing the Bible (the Word of God, the sword of the Spirit) to Sunday School and to worship service.
  • Memorize the verse(s) together as a family. This can further be applied within the whole church, which brings a whole new level of accountability within the entire church.
  • Teach theology to children. Never underestimate what the Holy Spirit can do through the Holy Scripture.
  • Raise the standard and expectations for the workers involved in the children’s ministry.
  • Parents involvement in understanding and raising their own children. At Bethlehem, the parents cannot have child-dedication unless they’ve taken the class first.
  • Equipping the parents, not replacing the parents. We must equip the dads for spiritual leadership in their homes.
  • We need to get men involved in the children’s ministry, not just the ladies.
  • Don’t encourage disengagements of kids from the parents and adults (e.g., separate worship service while adults are having theirs, etc). Children should attend the worship service together with their family and with other adults, and not be separated. Although some children (adults included) may not fully understand the pastor’s preaching (due to immaturity and/or unregenerate hearts), there is wisdom in this. And the parents need to understand this, and need patience and their support.

Stay tune for Part 3.