Shepherds' Conference Afterglow

March 6, 2006

It was a blessing to be with John MacArthur and his team, and the good folks of Grace Community Church at this year’s Shepherds’ Conference. I have never been so well-taken care of in my life (thanks to Steve Hall to for carting me around everywhere!). The singing was marvelous. The spirit was joyous and encourgaing. I just wish I could have been there for more of the conference, and had had more time to spend with the brothers who were gathered there for this great pastoral confab.

Before some of the highlights slip my mind, I’ll share them here:

* Dan Dumas is a genius at organization and a gracious host. Thanks so much friend for all you did and gave. I am your debtor.

* I was able to meet a colleague whom I have long admired but never met – Steve Lawson. What a dear, brave and godly servant of the Lord. Steve is just a few miles down the road in Mobile, and I hope to fellowship with him in days to come. BTW, I am now an unabashed fan of his wife Anne – who has been duly installed in my "Real Reformed Women’s Hall of Fame" after hearing Steve speak about her, and meeting her for myself.

* R.C. Sproul brought his A-game and his message on Romans 1 on Friday night was powerful and timely.

* Al, Mark, CJ and yours truly – after a wonderful T4G dessert gathering on Friday night – were surprised to receive four handsome presentation pieces of Spurgeon (for CJ), Luther (for Al), Edwards (for Mark) and Calvin. How kind. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

* Al Mohler’s Saturday morning talk was vintage Al. Densely packed exposition, deftly applied, which searching cultural analysis, engagement and critique. He just needed another hour!

* It was great to meet Phil Johnson in the flesh for the first time. Just wished we could have had more time to talk. He and my brother John got to have lunch on Saturday, I think.

* Seeing my brothers for a few moments. John and Mel both work for Ligonier Ministries. I even got to fly back from LA to Atlanta with my brother Mel, and walk to our next departure gate together. Fun.

* Staying up late talking with Mark, Al and CJ on Friday night. Can you say "more fun than a barrel full of monkeys"?

* Meeting Lance Quinn for this first time. He and I both serve on Peter Jones’ CWiPP board, but are never there at the same time! I’ve admired and followed Lance’s ministry for some time now, so what a privilege to meet him.

* Got to hug Tom Ascol.

* A number of you asked to whom I was referring in my last post when I mentioned CHBC and CLC and GCC and BBC as examples of strong Reformed churches with excellent evangelistic track records. Well, CHBC is none other than Capitol Hill Baptist Church – pastored by the finest preacher-theologian-evangelist of our time, Mark Dever. CLC is Covenant Life Church, where Josh Harris is now pastoring, and where C.J. Mahaney so ably served. SGM, or Sovereign Grace Ministries is a good example of a family of churches that are superb at the practice of evangelism and emphatic in embrace of the doctrines of grace. Grace Community Church is GCC – what more need I say?! And BBC is Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, where John Piper serves. These congregations take a back-seat to no one when it comes to church health, zeal for the lost, effective witness, commitment to the great commission and joyful embrace of reformed theology.