2013 Shepherds’ Conference (Day 3)

It’s funny how God gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it. This morning’s keynote was from Tom Pennington on the topic of prayer and it was exactly what I needed. While most pastors will confess that they don’t pray enough, they will usually follow that up with a lament about how busy they are. But Pennington made it clear that busyness is not the reason we don’t pray. We don’t pray because of 1) A lack of humility, 2) a lack of faith, 3) a lack of obedience. The antidote to our prayerlesness is to go back to the Lord’s Prayer where we see that 1) Prayer is a spiritual priority that requires great commitment, 2) Prayer is an intentional practice that requires deliberate time, 3) Prayer is a practical skill that requires practice. I immediately began to make significant changes to my calendar as a result of listening to Pennington’s sermon, it was extremely helpful.

For the last breakout session I attended Phil Johnson’s seminar on Four Liberalizing Trends that Threaten the American Church. Johnson gave an extended talk about the history of Socinianism and than made applications to the situation we find ourselves in today. He said that the four errors of Socinianism are the same four errors of modern theological liberalism: 1) It nullifies the authority of God’s Word by making Scripture subservient to human reason, 2) It denies the importance of the deity of Christ, 3) It diminishes the role of grace by inspiring a works based religion, 4) It obliterates the meaning of the cross because the denial of Hebrews 9:22 is at the heart of liberal thinking.

After a very rainy lunch I picked up a few more books from the campus bookstore and got ready for Steve Lawson’s afternoon session. Lawson gave a powerful sermon on the reality of hell from Luke 16:19-24. It was a haunting sermon for me and convicted me that this is a topic I need to talk about more in my public preaching.

The guys and I got away for one final dinner at the Elephant Bar in Burbank and of course a quick Starbucks run before coming back to the conference for our last session with Dr. MacArthur. Dr. MacArthur preached on a tale of two preachers, contrasting the Apostle Peter and the Betrayer Judas Iscariot. It was a powerful sermon that again haunted me as I thought about some friends I have had in the ministry who have abandoned the faith.

We’re back at the hotel right now, planning on hitting the road at 6:30am tomorrow morning and racing back to see our families. I’ll probably be taking it easy with the blogging next week as I try to recover from this spectacular trip and get ready for the next three weeks as we prepare for Easter. Thanks for sticking with me this week.

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March 08 2013 10:23 pm | Blog

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