Monday, September 22, 2008

True Discipleship Conf 1 08 Springfield IL

As i promised i wanted to blog some highlights of this conference.
My wife and I drove 6hrs to get there (you could call it our vacation (what better way to spend it) and yes she enjoyed it as much as if not more than me).
The guest speaker was Paul Washer, hosted by Pastor Curt Daniels who spoke twice (an amazingly gifted teacher). We missed the Fri session and two morning sessions, Yet we still heard Curt Daniels once then Paul Washer 2x on Sat and 3x on Sun.r
The church had a small bookstore of very choice books (classics and a few contemporaries). In the lobby were tons of free pamphlets by various authors mostly puritan, and stacks of cd's of past conferences, sermons and lectures (several people including myself needed small boxes to carry everything).
We were able to meet Charles Leiter and his wife, she had given my wife a (hard to find) biographical book by D. Martyn Lloyd-jones' wife about their church and testimonies. Consider this for those who don't understand the blessing of the gospel, this older couple (mature in the faith and surrounded by good preaching) drove 3hrs to hear a conference on the gospel (Leiter is close friends with Paul and a great preacher and writer)- and he was remarking to us how much this was feeding his soul!!! Praise the Lord for such shepherds who value, preach and love the gospel!
On top of the sessions was an abundance of TRUE fellowship (something i crave and rarely anyone seems to care or have time for it), meeting a lot of young and older people who were absolutely excited about Christ and the gospel. We made some good friends! Their was a Pastors dinner which i was able to attend, which consisted of the various pastors and seminary students asking questions (Paul Washer maybe got in a couple of bites). Throughout the conference I had the privilege of speaking to Paul for several hrs and listening to him give counsel and answer questions after the service (we and another young couple just sat there to listen-while people, from teens to the elderly, fellowshipped with Paul Washer).
Let me say something about Paul Washer: he is just a man (he's little in his own eyes) and he's very mild, very down to earth (really really funny), and very balanced. A great expositor who rarely has the freedom to just teach (seeing such a need to uphold and defend the gospel). Compared to the testimonies of Luther, Knox, Edwards, Whitefield, Spurgeon, Tozer, and Ravenhill this guy is MEDIUM and not very "shocking", but like Paul said 'even those that quote and support these men of the past would have NEVER let them preach in their pulpits, because they WERE wild men!!!! He has planned to take a 3month leave from itinerant ministry stating he has noticed great decline in himself and recognizes that God has used he's for a time but that
he's getting sloppy (something the preacher may notice before anyone else does).
He spoke of something quite remarkable which i needed to hear; in reference to rebuke (correction) he said 'people always try to get out of rebuke by pointing at the way it was said, but that's not the point if it's true then you need to receive it" His wife remarked to him once (she's from Peru) that "Americans are so thin-skinned, if you urge or rebuke they'll just leave the church". Now let me add that Paul has to live his words, and just recently he said he was at a conf. where he said something absurd (not sinful, but wrong) and the next speaker who knows him rebuked him from the pulpit (keep in mind this is before a large crowd). A friend sitting next to Paul commented "but Paul he didn't even come to you first" Paul corrected his friend and he also apologized about his comment the next session he spoke at. He also received a letter critiquing a few other things, something he said was a blessing to him (he even mentioned how Pastor Curt Daniels was also giving him some godly counsel after the first session). As all preachers, especially itinerant preachers, he knows how to discern his listeners. I mean this: if he is around a people who are passionate about theology, exposition, reading and the like he will stress not neglecting time in prayer, not neglecting the emotions, not neglecting the primary call of the home. If around passionate homeschoolers, he'll stress not letting that become a mark of spirituality, to beware just crossing every t and dotting every i and forgetting the heart of the gospel, or around sensationalists he'll stress the need to study, to be rooted in the scriptures to make that the rule of faith and life.. etc.
Well that's the introduction: stay tuned for details over each session.

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