Reflecting on Chicago

April 24, 2009

I am so appreciative to Concord for allowing the pastors to attend the 2009 Gospel Coalition conference in Chicago last week.  It was refreshing and exhausting at the same time as we were challenged and encouraged from 2 Timothy.  Here are a few of the highlights from my week.

  • Hearing nine preachers articulate and apply the Gospel in their diverse ways.
  • Tim Keller’s warning against preaching the Gospel without also addressing and tearing down our modern idols.
  • John Piper’s call to fan the flame of God’s gift by the power of God through His Word.
  • Mark Driscoll’s humble admonition to care for our congregation as a “positive” while identifying “negatives” in our own hearts.
  • Ed Copeland’s encouragement to trust God and preach faithfully in the midst of trouble and hardship.
  • A blog lunch that helped us focus on ministry and connecting with people more than technology and popularity.
  • A thoughtful conversation about the church’s ministry to the poor with a pastor from Durham.
  • The stunning example of a brother faithfully and patiently preaching the gospel in hostile areas and under increased persecution.  I will never forget the joy he had in Christ as he mentioned how his ministry may become illegal this year.
  • Lig Duncan’s message of encouragement and wonder drawn from a passage that can easily get overlooked.
  • D.A. Carson’s invitation to view evangelism not as the call from one culture to a foreign one, but to a “third position” from which we can reach the lost.
  • Power-walking up Michigan Avenue with a couple of my closest friends looking for a mythical Chicago pizza place.
  • Getting a unique view of the Kingdom of God and a bigger picture of missions from a seat on the “L Train.”
  • Conversations about ministry with recent friends from different churches, sharing our burdens and hearing each others’ hearts.
  • Coming back home to my family, including Jonathan waking up just long enough to smile then go back to sleep.
  • Looking forward to gathering around the Word with my Concord family for worship this Sunday.  I love my church.
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