Friday, October 3, 2008

Catching up!

Why is it that when I have the most things I could blog about, there's no time available!?! Today, I'm making time! The conference we went to last weekend was packed full of great things that I want to post a) so you can be apart of it and b) so I don't forget them!
Sinclair Ferguson was the first speaker. He had the *most charming* Scottish accent. I wish I could have him read some books on CD for my children to listen to. Scottish and English accents are my favorite--I wish I could train my children to speak with a little charming accent. It would make the naughtiness seem a little less brutal (maybe). Anyway, Dr. Ferguson spoke on the tongue. I don't know if your tongue ever gets you in trouble--mine does probably enough for multiple people! He had some great quotes and are a few of the ones that stuck out to me:
*The man who can control his tongue can control himself.
*My tongue displays whether I can do the spiritual things naturally and the natural things spiritually.
*The misuse of the tongue can render all other graces in my life impotent.
*Let there be something of benevolence (defined: desire to do good to others; goodwill; charitableness, an act of kindness) in all that I speak.

"Amazingly, the book of James has at least 20 resolutions that need to be part of the Christian’s covenant with God about how the believer is going to employ the tongue and lips, and master the heart in such a way that the beauty of Jesus is expressed (taken from the sermon--click here to read it all):

  1. I resolve to ask God for wisdom to speak out of a single-minded devotion to him (1:5).
  2. I resolve to boast only in the exultation I receive in Jesus Christ and also in the humiliation I receive for Jesus Christ (1:9-10).
  3. I resolve to set a watch over my mouth (1:13).
  4. I resolve to be constantly quick to hear and slow to speak (1:19).
  5. I resolve to learn the gospel way of speaking to both rich and poor (2:1-4).
  6. I resolve to speak in the present consciousness of my final judgment (2:12).
  7. I resolve never to stand on anyone’s face with the words I employ (2:16).
  8. I resolve never to claim as reality in my life what I do not truly experience (3:14).
  9. I resolve to resist quarrelsome words as evidence of a bad heart that needs to be mortified (4:1).
  10. I resolve never to speak decided evil against another out of a heart of antagonism (4:11).
  11. I resolve never to boast in any thing but what I will accomplish (4:13).
  12. I resolve to speak as one subject to the providences of God (4:15).
  13. I resolve never to grumble. The judge is at the door (5:9).
  14. I resolve never to allow anything but total integrity in everything I say (5:12).
  15. I resolve to speak to God in prayer whenever I suffer (5:13).
  16. I resolve to sing praises to God whenever I’m cheerful (5:14).
  17. I resolve to ask for the prayers of others when I’m in need (5:14).
  18. I resolve to confess it whenever I have failed (5:15).
  19. I resolve to pray with others for one another whenever I am together with them (5:15).
  20. I resolve to speak words of restoration when I see another wander (5:19).

Are you looking for guidelines in the gospel. Here your whole life is suffused with how God will give you this training for your life and for how you will speak. You need to resolve those things for how you will speak to others. It would be wonderful if such resolutions were fixed in our hearts."

On Saturday morning, Bob Kauflin spoke on How Music Serves the Word of God. Cody and I have loved Bob Kauflin's music and his ministry for a long time, so it was giddy exciting to hear him speak and even lead us in singing. The guy has been given an incredible talent in writing lyrics and music. He also has a piano performance degree--amazing talent! It's hard to sum up what he said; you could listen to it here. He did say that music will show a church's theology--I'm really proud of Cody for always trying to find music that has depth and truth while being fun to sing and worship together. (just a plug for my husband :)! )

Next we heard Mark Driscoll. This one is worth listening to here. (Put on your tough skin in case your easily offended...he means it in love, I'm pretty sure.) He has what some call an "edgy" style. He definitely has his "own" style which some might find offensive, however it is so apparent that his heart is sold out for Christ regardless of the price. He talked about "feeding the sheep"--those who are in our family--showing love and being kind to them. He also talked about "rebuking the swine" and "shooting the wolves". There are times we don't stand up for what is right or stand up against teaching that goes against what God's Word says. Of course, he says it a lot better than that... He also talked about "barking at the dogs". I know sometimes I'm not willing to point out specific instances or people that say and teach things that go directly against God's Word because I don't want to be offensive. BUT it is important to keep untruth out of our churches. Lastly, he talked about praying for the shepherds. This one really struck me emotionally. It's humbling first that there are people who are committed to praying for our shepherds (even my husband) faithfully everyday--do I do that too? Secondly, the dangers and persecution that Mark Driscoll shared that he has faced because of his bold witness for Christ was truly overwhelming and scary. I love that he has elders in his church that "take the darts" for him. How cool that there are men who are willing to protect their "shepherd". I can't really put into words how moving this sermon was. If you could only pick one to listen to, I would probably pick this one--although they're all good and all worth listening to!

Daniel Taylor spoke on Saturday afternoon. Although not a riveting speaker, he did inspire me to share more stories with my children of God's love for His creation and how this has played out in my life. Stories are a great way to instruct future generations; they are the single best way to share an experience; and stories are how God presents Himself to us in the Bible.

Saturday night, Paul Tripp spoke on Getting to the Heart for God's Sake (listen here). He had a savvy way of dressing and a killer mustache...not to distract from his words, though. I think this guy had the most memorable quotes of all the speakers.
Here are some of my favorites:
*There's nothing that comes out of the mouth that wasn't already in the heart.
*Word problems = heart problems
*God didn't give you grace to make your disfunctional selfish kingdom work, but to call you to a better Kingdom.
*It's only when I love God above all else that I'll love my neighbor as myself.
*Kingdom of God = powerful, boundless place of transforming love--true love is propelled by gratitude not duty.
*God calls us to cruciform love--the love that takes on the shape/form of the cross--willing self-sacrifice for the redemptive good of another that doesn't demand reciprication or that the person being loved is deserving. (how many times do I think, "That person did .... so I don't really think they deserve my love or kindness...ouch!)
*ALL that's needed for life and godliness is already in your storehouse (2 Peter 1:3-4). He's given me everything I need to .... Live out of this identity!
*We serve a disatified Redeemer who won't relent until every microfiber cell of sin is relenquished from the heart of every believer.
Paul Tripp ended with the question: Who's Kingdom rules your world? My prayer is that God's Kingdom would rule my heart, display itself in my world, and be lovely enough to bring others to Christ.
John Piper closed the conference by speaking on Sunday morning. He's always a great guy to listen to. (listen here) He talked about "Christian Eloquence" which may seem a little out there, but it was interesting to hear how hard he works to come up with themes and points that are *attractive* to the ear through cadence (rhythm & meter), alliteration, and assonance. He said that certain kinds of eloquence may interest the heart and increase the impact by making it memorable. I know WWJD has stuck with me for a really long time. Just kidding--that's probably not exactly what he was going for. It is important though to make the message of Christ appealing--"eloquence" may keep people interested for reasons they can't explain; it may have an awakening on a person's heart making them sensitive to the Spirit's leading; and it can join with beauty of truth and increase the power of your words.

There it is--a synopsis of the whole conference and links to listen--all for free!
It was a great conference and probably most enjoyable because we were with great people and Cody and I were *together*--like a three day date!

There were a few more things that were fun to see! We walked over a bridge and had this great view of that bridge with all those beautiful arches!

Then we went to Stillwater for lunch on Sunday. This was a super cute little town that I'm pretty sure I want to visit again!

We were greeted at home with these cute kissy lips!