Today was day two at Advance09 here in Durham, NC. It was another good day. To catch up you can find all of the uploaded audio for you to download here: Advance09 Session MP3′s.
Order of Events
- Ed Stetzer – Keys to Understanding Church and Kingdom
- JD Greear – Planting is for Wimps: Revitalizing a Church Around the Gospel
- Eric Mason – The Ultimate Shepherd
- Mark Driscoll – Ministry Idolatry
- John Piper – Let the Nations Be Glad, Part One
- Q&A Panel
Ed Stetzer – Keys to Understanding Church and Kingdom
How do I say this? Ed rocked the house with this presentation! Is that contextualized enough for you?
Ed gave a brief history lesson on why the Kingdom seemed to fall off the map in recent times. The two main reasons he gave are dispensationalism and liberalism. He mentioned how dispensationalists are coming around. They are calling themselves progressive dispensationalists which he said is like baptists calling themselves united baptists.
He was in Matthew 16 today. He offered three main points.
- Church needs to recognize the centrality of Christ.
- Peter’s confession is the foundation of the church.
- The church is God’s tool for Kingdom mission.
I appreciated his message in calling churches to focus on Jesus. He ended with a few bangs. Americans have a low view of church and are often Americans first and biblicists second. He called for men to get over their man-crush on Mark Driscoll and to love their own church/people. Get away from this type of ministry pornography. Don’t try to show your people cool. Show them Jesus.
Ending with a quote by Augustine: Te church is a whore, but still my mother.
JD Greear – Planting is for Wimps: Revitalizing a Church Around the Gospel
Greear decided to change his topic after listening to the day one presenters. I might have missed it, but I do not know what he changed his topic to. He did speak on revitalization while focusing on our problem of being religious in our churches today.
He opened with a great illustration about his “success” being God’s work and nothing he accomplished. He said it’s like a woodpecker pecking on a telephone poll. Along comes a bolt of lightening. It hits the telephone poll and splits/explodes the poll. The woodpecker jumped back just flapping it’s wings next to the poll. Now everyone wants the woodpecker to speak about how it did that to the telephone poll. Love it!
Greear gave six timeless characteristics of religion using Matthew 23.
- Love recognition. (Titles, praise, honor)
- Substitute religious rituals for God. (Checking boxes when done with certain deeds.)
- Elevate religious tradition over God. (Speech, dress, altar calls)
- Elevate religious things over loving other people. (Judgemental)
- More aware of others’ sins than their own. (Good vs. bad)
- Think the sermon is always about someone else. (Repentance)
Even though I wish he would have gone into detail on the “hows” of revitalizing a church, of how he did it, I think his message was important. It’s important for pastors to hear, sure. Probably moreso for congregations to hear which is why I think the pastors at the conference would have benefitted moreso from hearing how to “fix” these things.
Eric Mason – The Ultimate Shepherd
Mason also changed his topic. He changed it from The Ultimate Shepherd to Credibility of Church. What he actually did was exegete Ephesians 3:20-21.
I’m not sure I really got how the new topic fit with Ephesians 3:20-21. I did appreciate some of the things he said about the church. The churches credibility needs to be embedded in Christ. We’ve got to point to God. God shows Himself off through the church.
An interesting point was he thinks that Reformed people sometimes make an idol of out Total Depravity. “I’m a worm. I’m a fart.” We do this so much that even our confessing about how bad and unworthy we are becomes about us. It sure is something to think about.
Mark Driscoll – Ministry Idolatry
Excellent presentation. He laid out 20 points of idolatry. These were in groups of 4, 5 and 11. He touched on all aspects of life. They will apply to you whether you are a pastor or not. Very convicting. It would make a nice list of which to evaluate your life.
He ended by dropping a grenaide. He said that repentance is not what you preach it’s what you practice first. Quoting Packer that the first part of the Gospel is repentance and if you don’t repent you’re a heretic.
“Some of you guys are heretics.”
John Piper – Let the Nations Be Glad, Part One
Piper basically went through his book Let the Nations Be Glad. Not verbatim, but it’s never tiring to be reminded of our mission with the Gospel. Piper’s passion really comes through on this topic.
He ended speaking about those who’ve never heard the Gospel and how they are judged. I heard some conversation around me and they seemed confused as to how to Piper’s position. I’m sure he’s written elsewhere about it and another listen will help.
Interesting questions. The questions will be posted at Advancethechurch.com/notes
Piper said something that we might miss at times. He said preaching is as important as praying. We pray to have the Holy Spirit open the eyes to see what is preached. The Holy Spirit doesn’t go where the Gospel is not.
This reminds me that if we are to pray for someone’s conversion we must present the Gospel to them or else what will they be converted to?
One more from Piper was his answer to not idolizing people like him. He said to talk to his wife and see how sinful he really is. He admitted failure in one-on-one conversation with the Gospel. It’s easy to do before a large group,sure. He falls short in many places.
We need to hear admissions of short coming from the highly thought of pastors. Knowing that Piper too struggles with one-on-one sharing the Gospel shows us that he too is human.
For what it’s worth…