Friday, April 18, 2008

T4G in the Rear View Mirror

I'm sitting here at the kitchen table at home this morning, after the long trip back to Columbus, NE from Louisville, KY and Together For the Gospel. The bunch of us loaded up the vans and pulled out of the Galt House Hotel at about 12:45PM EDT yesterday afternoon, and I think I got to my house a little past 1:30AM CDT. Drove through parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska. And much of it in the dark and rain. I did a fair amount of the driving in one of the vans, including through St. Louis during rush hour traffic. My apologies to a couple brothers in the back of the van who suffered through my heavy right foot on the accelerator and brake in all the stop and go. It's good to have that trip over.

I wasn't able to post anything for yesterday morning's T4G happenings since I didn't have a network connection, and our group was occupied with getting checked out of the hotel and ready to hit the road. I have to admit I wasn't fully engaged in listening to John Piper and C. J. Mahaney's messages in the morning due at least partly to these distractions. And also to be honest, while I love these two pastors and have gained greatly from reading their books and other works, I don't connect strongly with either of these men in their preaching. But I do have some insights from their messages and will share those along with others in the coming days.

For me personally, the most impacting moment of the whole conference was during R. C. Sproul's message on the curse motif of the atonement. Maybe it was due to just having preached two weeks ago on 2 Corinthians 5:21 and the amazing grace of God in making Christ become sin on our behalf that prepared me for this. But as R. C. explored Galatians 3:10 and following, where Paul states that Christ also became the curse of God on our behalf, these two truths converged and I realized in a deeper and more significant way the immensity of the grace of God in the cross of Christ. It affected me deeply, and I hope and pray that it will continue to do so in my own teaching and preaching.

I also found that my first attempt at blogging a conference like this was much more difficult than I thought it might be. This was partly due to the fact that I was with and part of a large group, and necessarily needed time to spend with them. Also I found myself listening to messages and thinking more of what I wanted to communicate on my blog, and less of what God wanted me personally to learn and discover. I guess this comes with the territory, of being part of a community of friends and co-laborers in the Gospel from my local church, as well as being part of a virtual community of brothers and sisters in Christ in the Christian blogosphere. I'm still learning how to balance these.

So stay tuned in the next week as I attempt to post my summaries and insights from each of the messages, panel discussions and overall conference. For now, it's time to unpack and try to get back to the real world.

UPDATE - All the audio of the T4G '08 messages are already available for listening or free download here. Highly recommended, if you weren't there or if you were.


James Kubecki said...

Phil, it was a great pleasure meeting you at T4G and thank you for the time together of prayer at the Band of Bloggers event.

I agree with you that RC Sproul's message was outstanding, but then again, it's RC Sproul.

And since you prefer reading Piper and Mahaney, be sure to keep an eye out to see if they release a book of the sermon texts like they did for T4G '06 (the "Preaching the Cross" book we got as a freebie).

I am thoroughly challenged by Piper's exhortation for us to lead lives with a "radical flavor... a strange mixture of toughness and tenderness that would keep people off balance."

And since getting back, I'm much more aware of and convicted (courtesy of CJ Mahaney) of my own complaining heart, and what that means in terms of faithlessness and lack of Phil. 1:3-5 gratefulness.

God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Well, I publically forgive your driving through St. Louis. I learned a lot observing the team on this trip. We are all so different and yet the Lord chooses to use us. I'm so thankful! Love you brother!