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Sovereign Grace | Pastors' Conference 2012

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Audio is up for free download from the Sovereign Grace Pastors' Conference 2012. I've downloaded a handful. Go grab some. Here's the list of the speakers and talks. Go to the site to download them.

The general-session messages from our 2012 Pastors Conference are now online:

  • Dave Harvey, “Forgiveness: Debtor No More” (Mt 18:21-35)
  • Jeff Purswell, “A Call to Arms” (Eph 6:10-20)
  • Ligon Duncan, “God and Your Ministerial Discouragement” (Dt 34, 1Ki 19, 2Ti 4)
  • Ian McConnell, “Gospel Men on Gospel Mission” (Mt 16:13-21)

The breakout-session messages are also now available: 

  • Nancy Guthrie, "Pain that Can't be Prayed Away"
  • Nancy Guthrie, "Learning to Walk with Each Other Through Loss"
  • Jon Payne, "Union with Christ and Everyday Pastoring: Reinforcing an Important Doctrine" 
  • Paul Buckley, "Godly Speech - The Power of the Words We Speak, Write and Read"
  • Matthew Wassink, "What Polity Can, Can't and Shouldn't Do For Us"
  • John Loftness, "Evaluating Pastors: Common Mistakes, What We've Learned, and What Scripture Calls Us To" 
  • Craig Cabaniss, "Leading through Change: How to Address Sin, Mistakes and Growth in the Church"
  • Phil Sasser, "Effective Elderships: Fostering Clear Roles, Healthy Function, and Strong Leadership"
  • Dave Harvey, "What’s Our Role? Elders and the Global Mission"
  • Mickey Connolly, "Discerning Holiness: Legalism, License and the Principle/Practice Distinction"
  • Mark Prater, "Loving and Leading Those Who Criticize"
  • Bob Kauflin, "Parenting and the Grace of God: Has Our Understanding Changed?

Ear Candy | Bose Companion Speakers

BoseI've recently been gifted something wonderful: the Bose Companion 3, Series II desktop speaker system for my home office.

I've been using a great set of speakers from Logitech for a couple years now, but after hooking up both systems and testing them out side-by-side, there is no comparison. I'm more surprised by that than I thought I would be. You should check them out. 

Michael Frost | Romancing Your City

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It sounded like a cheesy title, but Michael Frost (Exiles, The Shaping of Things to Come, ReJesus, The Road to Missional) delivered a simple, thought-provoking breakout at Exponential 2012 that I listened to by podcast last night. He compares a good marriage to how we say "I do" and "To death do us part" and the ongoing romance with our spouse with how a church loves her neighborhood (or city). I'd have some minor quibbles, but it was quite helpful for me.

Here are some of his thoughts and points from my sketchy notes, which you can see are comparable to marriage. Should we commit to our neighborhoods (cities) to a lifelong romance, till death do we part? Good thoughts here...

  • Move in to the neighborhood God has sent you to
  • Listen to your neighborhood
  • Talk to your mayor, police chief, fire chief, school principals
  • Eat in local restaurants, get in local cafes, walk the neighborhood
  • Ask people what they want, long for, desire
  • NOTE: Interesting section on midnight-5am "street pastors" 16:45 mark
  • "Listen to your neighborhood, it is telling you--if you listen hard enough--how to evangelize them, how to serve them, how to unleash an awareness of the reign of God in that place."
  • Partner with your neighborhood
  • Stay for a long time in your neighborhood (sickness or health, rich or poor, till death do we part)
  • You will move culture to a tipping point by transforming hundreds of thousands of villages across the nation.
  • If this place goes down, we will go down with you.

Francis Schaeffer & L'Abri

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Over the last couple of weeks I've been enjoying working out with Jerram Barrs audio from his two classes on Francis Schaeffer (Early Years & Later Years) at Covenant Seminary. Specifically, I've been listening by streaming through the Covenant Seminary Worldwide Classroom app on my Android phone.

I've thought for several years that one of the best things that could happen in American churches is that we would take a more L'Abri-like approach to our mission. You can read the Schaeffer's ministry at L'Abri in The Tapestry (out of print, but I just picked one up used but in perfect condition for $25) and L'Abri. I think churches like Soma Communities are doing this kind of thing better than most.

Whether or not you pick up the books, please go pick up these very helpful, free audio classes from Jerram Barrs are hard to beat as resources in thinking about mission, apologetics, living missionally, hospitality, etc. Download Francis Schaeffer: The Early Years and Francis Schaeffer: The Later Years now. You can get them through iTunes, or stream them over the Worldwide Classroom. While you are at it, find more great stuff from Jerram Barrs including his books The Heart of Evangelism and Learning Evangelism From Jesus.

Gospel Coalition | Day 1

Me band bloggers

I have absolutely no time to recap my days here at the Gospel Coalition 2011 in Chicago, but I figured I'd put up something. 

I'm really impressed with the new location, McCormick Place. Huge facility. The bookstore is outstanding, and now has Joe Thorn's new book, Note to Self.

What preaching I saw was great. Maybe better than that, Joe Thorn and I talked just before bed about how amazing our conversations have been. Gospel-focused, encouraging, God-glorifying. I've seen new friends and old ones. I told Michael Horton I'm one of those missional guys and got Rod Rosenbladt to laugh. I met Ray Ortlund, Jr. and Dane Ortlund for the first time and talked to Sam Storms yet again. I got coffee with Greg Thornbury and tried to convert Tim Ellsworth's 7 year old son to being a Cubs fan (FAIL, for good reason). I told Josh Harris he looks a bit like Russ Moore. Josh is always a joy to talk to. Matt Schmucker gave me a sticker. Al Mohler, as always, asked about my wife's health. Several guys actually did. I heard Tim Keller preach. Nuff said. I talked to a bunch of bloggers about, well, blogging. I saw my pastor from Kentucky, my old friend from a Methodist church in my hometown, and several local friends. I met Jared Wilson and his lovely wife, Becky, who is probably a better conversationalist than he is. And he's a great conversationist. I got to discuss and strategize about open-air preaching with guys from cities, suburbs, and small towns. I talked about "synagogue evangelism" with some Twitter friends I got to meet for the first time. It was one of the best days of conversations I've ever experienced, and it's just the first day. Because of all the above I'm even more optimistic about the Church, the mission, and our great God. 

It's been a very good but long day and I think I've dropped enough names, though the list goes on. These are real guys, serious guys, and it's a blessing to know them. More tomorrow. It's late and I'm punchy. Let me close with this: The Gospel Coalition is probably my favorite all-around conference for a superb mix of content & opportunity to make connections with Gospel-saturated guys. I wish even more friends were here. God has been good to me.

National Poetry Month 2011

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It's April! That means another National Poetry Month is underway! Hope to have a few good posts on poetry and poets. What a wonderful art. To kick off NPM2011, here's famous Beat poet, Allen Ginsberg, with his most famous poem, Howl (from Howl and Other Poems). Instead of giving you the longer poem in text, here it is read aloud by Ginsberg. What better way to read a Beat poet than by hearing a Beat poet. HEADS UP: He uses language some might find offensive. But I think it's important to understand.

ListenPart I & II (includes text of poem) | Part III & Footnote

From Poets.org (great site) on the Beat poets...

Beat poetry evolved during the 1940s in both New York City and on the west coast, although San Francisco became the heart of the movement in the early 1950s. The end of World War II left poets like Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Gregory Corso questioning mainstream politics and culture. These poets would become known as the Beat generation, a group of writers interested in changing consciousness and defying conventional writing. The Beats were also closely intertwined with poets of the San Francisco Renaissance movement, such as Kenneth Rexroth and Robert Duncan.

The battle against social conformity and literary tradition was central to the work of the Beats. Among this group of poets, hallucinogenic drugs were used to achieve higher consciousness, as was meditation and Eastern religion. Buddhism especially was important to many of the Beat poets; Gary Snyder and Allen Ginsberg both intensely studied this religion and it figured into much of their work.

Allen Ginsberg's first book, Howl and Other Poems, is often considered representative of the Beat poets. In 1956 Lawrence Ferlinghetti's press City Lights published Howl and Ferlinghetti was brought to trial the next year on charges of obscenity. In a hugely publicized case, the judge ruled that Howl was not obscene and brought national attention to Ginsberg and the Beat poets.

Guidelines for Open-Air Preaching

Kevin Williams Street Preaching

Thanks for the great response to yesterday's post on a call for sane open-air preaching: The Gospel in the Open-Air Again. I believe God is doing something. I really do. Keep commenting as we all need (at least I need) this discussion so we can figure out what this would look like in America today.

After that post I received a link to some videos from @FrankFusion. Honestly, I'm shocked at how good this is, and how well it explains the practicals of open-air preaching, who should do it, what you shouldn't do, how it fits with local churches, and tons more.

This is exactly what we need to follow up my previous post and figure out how to do this. Would love to know if your reaction to this is as positive as mine.

The first video is a shorter excerpt from the second video on whether you preach apologetically or preach Christ. Really good. It made me want to watch the second. The second video is an hour long and well worth the time. Check the PDF that coincides with the video (found below the video here). You can also download the audio. Under the second video below are the points discussed and the times where they start on the video. Those talking are Kevin Williams and Ryan Skinner.

1. How do I know I am called to street preach? 00:00:44
2. Taping yourself open-air preaching and putting it up on youtube, why? 00:03:40
3. What does bad and good open-air preaching look like? 00:05:43
4. Is “drive by” open-air preaching wrong? How important is a local church? 00:09:00
5. Is it important to be part of a local church and have accountability? 00:12:28
6. How do you respond to the hatred you are met with? 00:13:49
7. How important are one on one conversations? 00:16:15
8. Are you going out in love? 00:17:37
9. Is doing “shock and awe” evangelism biblical? 00:20:12
10. Do people understand the Christian terms that you are using? 00:24:25
11. How important is it to have scripture memorized? 00:25:32
12. Is it important to know the LAWS of the land? 00:26:11
13. Is Christ or Apologetics your Focus in Open-Air Preaching? 00:28:07
14. How do you engage a heckler? 00:33:17
15. Where is a good spot to open-air preach at? 00:36:01
16. Don’t let getting large crowds become an idol. 00:40:56
17. Are there open-air preachers who are lost and not saved themselves? 00:42:45
18. Be careful to not appear self-righteousness while open-air preaching. 00:46:17
19. Advice on answering people’s questions in the open-air. 00:49:35
20. What should the length of my message be? 00:53:56
21. What makes a solid gospel tract? 00:55:03
22. Is it biblical to hand out cartoon gospel tracts that are gimmicky? 00:56:04

John MacArthur on Darrin Patrick's Book

UPDATE 1.25.2011 | Darrin Patrick responds to John MacArthur -- Not Radical Individualism: A Reply to John MacArthur - They are good words, gracious words.

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I've learned a lot from John MacArthur since becoming a Christian. He was a "go to" preacher early on for me. I met him at SBTS somewhere in the early 2000's it was a great pleasure for me.

He was interviewed on Sunday night by Phil Johnson - Theology & Ministry: An Interview with John MacArthur. Go forward until there's about 27 minutes remaining and start listening (for context). With a little more than 25 minutes to go you get John MacArthur saying this...

You know, there's a new book on church planting written by a guy named Darrin Patrick and it says if you want to be an effective church planter, develop your own theology.

You know when I read that I just almost fell off the chair. What? I mean, can you think of anything worse than to have some guy develop his own theology? This is ultimate niche marketing. Develop your own style, your own wardrobe, and then your own theology.

Anyone care to rip this apart? MacArthur should be embarrassed.

Church-planter UPDATE: And you should buy and read Darrin Patrick's Church Planter, endorsed by Al Mohler, Ed Stetzer, Matt Chandler, Tim Keller, Mark Dever, and others who see things a little different than John MacArthur.

If God Is Against Us...

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Until we come to grips with the fact that there is one unchanging God who has always hated sin and deals with it with the utmost severity, we're not anywhere close to revival. We're going to have to accept the fact that when God is grieved He turns himself and becomes his peoples' greatest enemy.

I still hear people saying, "If God is for us, who can be against us?" But that's not the issue right now. The issue is, "If God is against us, what does it matter who's for us."

Richard Owen Roberts, 2010 Forum on Revival at SBC (original source)

Ligonier $50 Giveaway

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Want $50 of resources from Ligonier Ministries? Here's your chance.

Ligonier is led by R.C. Sproul and produces solid resources for thinking Christians. I've benefited greatly from books like The Holiness of God (I've also enjoyed the audio of The Holiness of God teaching series more than once), the audio for The Consequences of Ideas, and the great Reformation Study Bible (ESV). I want folks to check out these and other resources at Ligonier's website.

So I'm giving my readers a chance for $50 worth of resources at Ligonier. Here's how you enter...

STEP 1: Copy & share the following without the quote marks on Twitter (if you aren't on Twitter, use Facebook): "Win $50 for the @Ligonier Ministries Store. RT this & comment at Reformissionary to win: http://bit.ly/dFYZOc "

STEP 2: Leave a comment below (so I can verify you did step 1). Include your full name and real email address (kept private) so I can contact the winners. For fun, also add to your comment the percent chance that the Bears will win the Super Bowl. I'll say 70%. :)

Wednesday (15th) in the late afternoon/early evening I'll be choosing and contacting a winner. 

Merry Christmas!