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2007 National Leadership Conference - Panel Discussion

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

In my last post regarding the National Leadership Conference I wrote about the Panel Discussion that was held on Friday morning.

As I mentioned in the last post, the members of the Panel were some of the General Session speakers. Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN) , Pastor Ron Jones of Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, and Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church of Greer, South Carolina. Dr. Sam Harbin, conference co-ordinator and President of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary served as the moderator and questioner for the Panel Discussion.

A question was asked near the end of the Panel Discussion that I wanted to highlight as its own separate post.

Dr. Harbin asked the panelist (specifically addressing the three Senior Pastors - Pastor Brooks, Pastor Jordan, and Pastor Doran) about what kind of schedule they have on a typical week and what kind of planning do they do.

Over the last year or so, I have heard similar questions asked of a number of men and the responses have been interesting to me. For instance, Jason Janz has asked this question in some of his interviews at SharperIron. It has been interesting to me to hear some of the answers. For instance, I was surprised to hear from the interview that he did with Dr. Mark Minnick that he does much of his preparation for Sunday night on Sunday afternoon. (Having sat under many of those Sunday night messages when I attended Mt. Calvary, I would never have guessed that these messages could have been completed in the time between Sunday morning and Sunday evening.)

Pastor Dan Brooks commented that one of the great things about expository preaching is that you know what you are going to be preaching next week. He also commented that he tends to block out his mornings for study. He also commented that a good secretary who can keep away unnecessary interruptions is a great help.

Pastor Jordan also commented that he is also a firm believer of expository preaching and that to do this well will take work and time and times of significant effort. He also indicated that if you believe that it is important, you will get it done - you will find a way. He also comments that he likes to have a block of significant time at the beginning and again at the end of the week for study.

Pastor Doran then asked the question that I was waiting for - what is a typical week? The reality is that those animals don’t tend to exist. He did comment that with planning there is an ideal that is different than reality.

Dr. Doran also made a comment that I had not thought about previously. He said that he started some time ago to think in steps or stages of sermon development. While you may not have the time you need for extended study, you can often do sections of sermon preparation in smaller sections of time. For instance, he said that you can identify the theme of a passage anywhere you have a Bible. I have occasionally found myself doing this, but not intentionally. (In other words, I have found myself studying out particular terms in what I knew was going to be a limited amount of time or what became a limited amount of time.) I think the idea of thinking of this preparation in stages can be especially helpful in situations when you recognize that your study time is going to be spread out rather than concentrated in a particular week.

He also commented that he tends to work in three Sunday segments. If I understood him properly, this would indicate that three weeks before the message he is working on the theme of a passage. Two weeks before the message his is working through interpretational issues. The last week before the message he is pulling together the sermon homiletically.

Dr. Bauder, who does not currently Pastor, has been a Pastor previously and he added some thoughts as well. After commenting that he never had such a large congregation as the other Pastors on the panel (he said that he never had a big church like Calvary where this many people can fall asleep all at once), he did address the issue that a lot of guys are leaving the seminaries and are expecting a larger staff and a larger church when this will not be the reality for most.

Dr. Bauder also addressed the question of how long it takes to prepare a sermon - 30 years.
He also commented that those who are concerned about mentoring in the context of a small church. Sometimes guys wonder about who will mentor them if they go to a small church, when in reality they will be mentored by the people in the church and will find themselves mentoring folks in the church.

It was also discussed (I did not write down by whom) that there are some additional issues of time that come up due to technology. For instance, the ease of communication has made unnecessary communication a bigger distraction. In the old days, for instance, you had to get on a horse and ride or walk a distance to even see a Pastor, so, unless it was something serious, you did not generally make that trip. Now, it is easy to "drop by" or call, etc.

Another issue that came up (again, I did not write down from whom) was the issue of the fear of men. Many times we find ourselves ministering out of a fear of man. This is seen when we respond to needs with the mentality of "if I don’t visit this person, it is going to put me on the wrong side of them or their family, etc." Sometimes this mentality causes us to have a schedule that is not best for us or the church.

Anyway, I find hearing from these men about their schedules is encouraging to me - and sometimes provides a little help in my own scheduling.

Well, I need to go for now.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

2007 National Leadership Conference - Final Day

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

On Friday, the National Leadership Conference is only a half-day. This actually works really well since it allows most people who come from the area to get back to the office a little on Friday afternoon for things that need to be done during business hours.

Since Friday is only a half-day, there are no workshops, there are just general sessions instead (and a panel discussion this year).

The First General Session on Friday was one by Pastor Ron Jones, who serves as an Assistant Pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Sellersville, Pennyslvania. Pastor Jones, in keeping with the nature of the general sessions, preached on "Our Unique Community" from Colossians 3:1-17.
Pastor Jones dealt with three ways that we are a unique community.

I. We are a Unique Community because we hold an eternal perspective and focus

Our living here and now must reflect where we are going.

Where the Head is, there the members must be.

He used an illustration about visiting his grandmother - there is evidence you are there, but there is also evidence that it is only temporary. The same thing should be said in regards to our sojourn here.

II. We are a Unique Community because the transformation of our character

We are to make a corpse of our life.
If we have a transformed character, why do we have so much covetousness, which is idolatry?
People ought not to see covetousness in the lives of Christians.
III. We are a Unique Community because of the unique character we display

The new man that we put on is drastically different than the old man.
The new man understands that we are one community - neither Greek nor Jew, etc.
After the 1st General Session, there was a short break and then a Panel Discussion. The members of the Panel were some of the General Session speakers. Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN), Pastor Ron Jones of Faith Baptist Church of Sellersville, and Pastor Danny Brooks of Heritage Bible Church of Greer, South Carolina. Dr. Sam Harbin, conference co-ordinator and President of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary served as the moderator and questioner for the Panel Discussion.

Many of the questions that Dr. Harbin asked were related back specifically to points and comments made by the speakers in their General Sessions and the questions covered a pretty wide range.

Pastor Ron Jones (who is African-American - a fact only mentioned because it is relevant to the question) was asked about diversity in our churches. He commented that we have made some good progress, but that there are still some hurdles that we need to clear.

Pastor Tim Jordan, who had started off the conference with communion, was asked about the practice of "tacking on communion" to a service, which he does not like. He also commented that the Lord’s Table is one of the few commanded aspects of worship and that we should take it more seriously. (By the way, for a great communion hymn, our church uses "We Gather to Remember" written by Pastor Scott Annoil of First Baptist Church in Rockford, Illinois. The stanzas deal with different aspects of communion - the body, the blood, examine yourself, etc. I would link to it, but the site is temporarily down for maintenance.)

In regards to expository preaching, Pastor Dan Brooks commented that since God’s word is quick and powerful (Heb. 4:12), we need to get out of the way and let God’s word do its work. He also commented that we are merely table waiters delivering what God has prepared for His people.

In regards to a question about dealing with people of this post modern age, a comment was made by a panelist about establishing an understanding of the Bible as God’s Word and Dr. Doran jumped in with "I am a thorough going presuppositionalist" (which got a good response). He also commented that when Paul referred to the poets (for instance), he did not do it to gain credibility, but he did so in the sense, "You already know you don’t have the answers." He also added, "I don’t see any Biblical warrant for us to use external evidences as part of pre-evangelism."

In dealing with a question on the nature of Scripture, Dr. Bauder pointed out that the sufficiency of Scripture does not suggest that the answer to every question is in the Bible, but that all we need is in the Bible.

He illustrated this concept by talking about jumping out of an airplane with a bad parachute. The Bible does not address the question of "how do I survive this fall?", but it does address the issue of being prepared to die, etc. (There was a humorous moment in this that I will share in my overall evaluation post to come later.)

When asked about staying in touch, Dr. Doran spoke about the fact that exposition is key - it allows you to unfold the Word of God so that the various needs are met. We should remember that the transformation of the mind is a slow process. Even if people don’t remember specifics, if we are expositional in our preaching, they can see that the base is in the Bible and know where to go.

Dr. Jordan commented on the need to getting to know more and more of your people and Pastor Brooks reminded us that the point is that their faith would rest in God, not in the Pastor.

In regards to pastoral authority and to preaching a comment was made (by Doran?) that the two keys of a pastoral authority is exposition and example.

Dr. Doran commented that "the best preaching is the extension of extended reflection on the text" and listed some key developmental questions. These developmental questions included "What do I need to explain?" "What do they need to be convinced of?" and "Where does this show up (in living)?

There was also a pretty good discussion in regards to planning and schedules that I will include separately (since this is getting so long).

The Last General Session of the day was by Professor Doug Finkbinder of Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary and dealt with "Our Unique Story."

Dr. Finkbinder commented that a lot of what could be said in this session had already been covered by Pastor Brooks in the session on "Our Unique Savior" and by Pastor Doran in the session on "Our Unique Gospel."

The emphasis on Dr. Finkbinder’s presentation (which, unlike the other General Sessions, included a full set of pre-printed notes - 6 pages worth) was upon the idea of using God’s story line in our presentation of the God’s Story. He dealt with the idea of the Creation, Fall, Pursuit and Culmination and the way these things work together. Since these notes are available (or will likely be available) for downloading, I won’t bother to rehash the specifics here.

One of the challenges that Dr. Finkbinder mentioned in this presentation is one that I may actually do - preach a series on Major Movements in God’s Story. (To be fair, I have been thinking along doing something like this after reading about how Don Johnson’s "through the whole Bible" series that he mentions on his blog.) He also challenged us to consider getting up and telling the whole Bible storyline in one message and to connect the text to the Bigger Story.

There was a closing song and things were wrapped up for the conference. I have two more general posts (an overall evaluation post and a post on the planning and scheduling section of the panel discussion) before getting into specific workshops.

Just my thoughts (feel free to add your own),

Frank

2007 National Leadership Conference - Day 3

Monday, February 26, 2007

As I mentioned on my last post, Thursday started off with Dr. Dave Doran’s presentation on "Our Unique Gospel."

Thursday also included two other General Sessions and some workshops.

The second General Session of the day was a presentation by Dr. Kevin Bauder of Central Baptist Theological Seminary (MN) on "Our Unique Authority."

As Dr. Bauder himself acknowledged, there was nothing new in this presentation, but he did do a good job of some important ideas for review.

His proposition was "We must submit ourselves to God’s Word" and he gave three reasons why we must submit ourselves to God’s Word from 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

I. The first reason we must submit to God’s Word is because God breathed it.

Key term: Authority

Whatever is Scripture is the product of God’s creative breath and therefore has God’s authority.

"You cannot claim to be loyal to God if you are not loyal to what He says."

The doctrinal implication of this truth is that everything that Scripture affirms must be true.

The label for this, of course, is "Inerrancy"

It is not that the Bible contains the Word of God or that the Bible becomes the Word of God, but rather the Bible is the Word of God.

While there is no division of authority in the Bible, not all of Scripture is equally relevant in answering the same questions.

II. The second reason we must submit to God’s Word is because it has the Power to change lives.

Key term: Profitable
A doctrinal implication of this truth is the perspicuity of Scripture

When you knock down the perspicuity of Scripture, you knock down the authority of the Bible.

The power and utility of Scripture is seen when we grasp it.

The Holy Spirit is capable of illuminating the text when we don’t understand it.

An implication of this is that the Bible is not useful and powerful when we let it sit on the shelf.

III. The third reason we must submit to God’s Word is because the Word of God gives us all that we need.

If we were going into a physical battle, we would want to be as equipped as possible. In the spiritual battle, we need the Bible if we are to equipped for battle.

A doctrinal implication of this deals with the Sufficiency of Scripture.

The Bible is our sole authority, yet people will turn to all kinds of external authorities today.

While he did not use this term, it is important that we understand the difference between sola Scriptura and noda Scriptura. While the Bible is our sole authority, it does not tell us everything about the world in which we live. It is not the sole source of information.

As an illustration of this point, he gave an illustration of a woman feeding arsenic to her husband. "The Bible does not say you ‘no arsenic’ - you legalist!" (You probably need to hear the presentation to appreciate this comment in its context.)

Dr. Bauder dealt with a familiar text and familiar topic, but, as usual, did so in an excellent way and this session is also worth listening to if you can.

Thursday Evening’s General Session was more of a testimony than a General Session. Evangelist Mike Redick, who is a graduate of International Baptist College in Tempe, Arizona and serves as a missionary evangelist in Southeast Asia.

Mr. Redick gave some incredible testimonies and connected them loosely to Matthew 9 and the idea that "the harvest is plenteous." He also stated that there must be an Acceptance of the Promise (I know this is probably nitpicking, but it seemed that Mr. Redick was indicating that the idea that "the harvest is plenteous" as a promise, rather than a statement of fact, but maybe I misunderstood him.) He also stated there must be an Awareness of the Problem - the problem is not the harvest or the seed, the problem is with the harvesters.

One thing that I that I thought was interesting in regards to the testimonies that Mr. Redick shared was that after the Gospel meetings that they held in the Philippines many of the converts were immediately part of a two-week discipleship camp. The first week of the camp focuses on teaching the basics of the Christian life. The second week of the camp focuses on teaching the new believers how to present their new faith. Having two weeks of intensive training for new believers would seem to be a great blessing and I wonder if it is part of the reason for the apparent effectiveness of some of the ministries of which Mr. Redick spoke.

Tomorrow I plan on adding a post (or two) regarding Friday (including the Panel Discussion) and then a general summary before moving on to individual workshops.

I hope this information is helpful to others out there.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

2007 National Leadership Conference - Notes from Dave Doran's Presentation - "Our Unique Gospel"

And now we return to our regularly scheduled program - reports on the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

As I indicated on my last post, Thursday at the National Leadership Conference started off with a great presentation by Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Doran’s text was 1 Corinthians 15:1-6 and the topic was "Our Unique Gospel."

Dr. Doran started off by reminding us that "the easy targets are not the dangerous ones" and that "it is the erosion of the Gospel that poses the greatest threat to our commission."

Considering a recent discussion over at Pastor Chris Anderson’s My Two Cents (here - including the comments - especially the interraction from Pastor Mark Perry), I thought Dr. Doran’s take on the issue of the nature of this passage provided some helpful clarity. Dr. Doran commented that since Paul is dealing with a specific departure from the Gospel - namely, false teaching regarding the resurrection - the passage starts with a summary of the Gospel before focusing on the area of the departure.

The following are some additional notes from the presentation:

I. The Priority of the Gospel - "first of all" (v. 3)

A. It is a message of Essential Content

There is a departure today that would claim that we should take the Bible
and put it aside and go after Christ instead. However, what we know about Christ
we know through the Bible and when you put aside the Bible to go after Christ,
you are not going after Christ. Christ is revealed for us through the Bible.

Repeatedly, our faith is linked to the word (e.g. Romans 10:17, 2 Timothy
3:15, etc.)

We must have a Gospel full of Gospel truth.

B. It is a message of Eternal Consequences - "by which ye are saved" (v. 2)

"The faith that saves is a faith that clings to Christ."

"Either you have the Biblical Gospel or you don’t have the Gospel at all"

"As a Pastor, I must give my life to guarding that Gospel and proclaiming it and teaching it."
II. The Purity of the Gospel

A. The content of the Gospel

Dr. Doran pointed out that while there is a summary statement in the beginning of this chapter, it is simply a summary statement and that summary statements must be expanded and explained to arrive at a full understanding.

Paul is not writing a systematic theology in these verses, he is doing pastoral work.

Dr. Doran also commented that the idea of Brian McClaren that someone can become a follower of Jesus without becoming a Christian is a departure from the faith, not a
defense of the faith.

It is essential that we do not assume an understanding about Scriptural truth on the part of the people to whom we witness. How can we say "trust in Christ" without defining Who Christ is? What sin is? etc.

B. The character of the Gospel

1. Apostolic
2. Scriptural
3. Historical

C. The context of the Gospel

The context of the Gospel is man’s alienation from the true and living God - Our Creator.

Again, we cannot assume that our hearers have this context, so there must be an announcement of man’s rebellion if the call for repentance is to have any effect.

D. The center of the Gospel - Jesus Christ

In Philippians 1:12-18, Paul weds "gospel" and "preaching Christ"

Repeatedly in Acts "preaching Christ", "preaching word", etc. are intertwined.

Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the O.T. promises. This includes details regarding the life, death, and resurrection and culminates in the exaltation of the Lordship of
Christ, etc.


Other selected approximate quotes.
"We must not take a reductionist stance on the Gospel."
"We take the Gospel and drop it down to a sound bite and wonder why it never bites."
"We cannot ignore threats to the Gospel."
"We must strive to make the Gospel central to fellowship."
"We must do more than just argue about the Gospel, we must give it out."

*All quotes are approximations. I tried to get things as accurate as I could, but I have three pages of notes from Dr. Doran’s presentation and there was so much said that was good that it was hard to write down everything that I wanted to write down. I have ordered the CD from CBTS, but the quotes are from my notes, not from the CD. (Of course, I recommend that you go over the www.cbs.edu and order your own copy of this presentation. :) ).

National Leadership Conference Reports to Resume after Sunday

Sunday, February 25, 2007

For those of you visiting to read more of my reports on Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary's National Leadership Conference, I plan on resuming them after the weekend. (Sometimes life and ministry get in the way of blogging - go figure!)

Anyway, my comments on the National Leadership Conference so far are found in the following posts:

2007 National Leadership Conference at Lansdale
National Leadership Conference - Day 1
2007 National Leadership Conference - Day 2
2007 National Leadership Conference - Get this Presentation!

For those who want to look at some of last year's comments while you wait for me to continue the 2007 National Leadership Conference Reports (I am sure you are sitting their on pins and needles), last year's reports that I completed are found in the following posts:

National Leadership Conference
One More Quick Lansdale Note
Separation from Professing Brethren
Shaping the Future - Pastoral Internships

Reading over my initial post from last year's conference reminds me that there were a couple of things that I really wanted to discuss that I never got to - at least one of them is still in blogger in "draft" mode.

Anyway, I hope to have more stuff by Monday night at the latest.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

2007 National Leadership Conference - Get this Presentation

Friday, February 23, 2007

I hope to post a full report about Thursday at the National Leadership Conference soon, but I wanted to briefly state one simple thing:

I would urge everyone to purchase either a CD or an mp3 of Thursday morning’s General Session at the National Leadership Conference. Dr. Dave Doran of Inter-City Baptist Church and Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary gave the opening session on Thursday morning on"Our Unique Gospel" and the message was dead-on.

I will try to add more details later, but I wanted to at least post this the first time I had internet access.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

2007 National Leadersip Conference - Day 2

Thursday, February 22, 2007

This is the second in a series of posts regarding the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, PA. The first report can be found here.

For those of you who have never been to a National Leadership Conference, Wednesday and Thursday are the two big days of the National Leadership Conference, with Tuesday only having an evening session and Friday only having sessions up until lunch.

One of the nice things about the National Leadership Conference is meeting up with other friends in ministry. For lunch, Matt Jury and I joined a group from Hardingville Bible Church including Pastor Mark Franklin, Pastor Dave Field and John and Rocco. We had an interesting meal. I won’t comment much regarding lunch because it was probably one of those "you had to be there to understand" type of moments, but imagine a group of six big men in a lady-like health food cafe and you will get the start of the picture of us at lunch on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the day began with a General Session by Dr. Doug McLachlan, Pastor of Fourth Baptist Church of Minneapolis, Minnesota, former President of Central Baptist Theological Seminary and author of Reclaiming Authentic Fundamentalism.

In General, the General Sessions are running around a common theme - Our Unique (... fill in the blank...).

Dr. McLachlan’s General Session focused on Isaiah 6:1-8 and dealt with Our Unique God in a presentation entitled: No One is Holy Like the Lord - a reference to the truth expressed by Hannah in 1 Samuel 2:2. Dr. McLachlan focused on five graphic stages regarding the encounter of Isaiah with "The Holy One of Israel."

The first stage dealt with "The Prophet’s Vision" and dealt with the fact that Isaiah saw God in His holiness - on His holy throne, with His holy angels, etc. He also reminded us that John 12 indicates that Who Isaiah saw was Jesus. (Kind of interesting considering a recent online conversation I had in which a lady was trying to claim that Allah and Jehovah God were the same.)

The second stage dealt with "The Prophet’s Conviction" and dealt with the fact that seeing God’s holiness brought about in Isaiah a utter sense of his own sinfulness and ruin.

The third stage dealt with "The Prophet’s Confession" and dealt with the response of Isaiah in admitting his own sinfulness and confessing this before God. (It seemed to me that the second and third stage were very closely linked in the presentation so that it was hard to distinguish them - but considering the context of Isaiah 6, that makes sense.)

The fourth stage dealt with "The Prophet’s Redemption" and dealt with the fact that the solution to Isaiah’s problem was taken care of by God, not by Isaiah. "Once it was God’s holiness that kept us from God, now it is God’s holiness that brings us to God" - the Holy Sacrifice reconciled us.

The fifth stage dealt with "The Prophet’s Commission and dealt with what Isaiah pledged - that he would go and proclaim the unique God.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good presentation of a very familiar passage.

The second General Session was on "Our Unique Savior" by Pastor Danny Brooks from Heritage Bible Church in Greer, South Carolina. Pastor Brooks had one of those sessions that you never want to have as a speaker at a gathering like this - he had the dreaded after lunch session.
Pastor Brooks dealt with John 1:1- 18 and focused on the Uniqueness of Christ as Our Savior.
By way of introduction, Danny dealt with the three terms in his title - Our (which reminds us of the closeness of association we have with the Savior and with one another) Unique (one of a kind) Savior (someone who rescues from harm or danger).

As Dan continued his introduction, he reminded us of the uniqueness of Christ in regards to the founders of the various religions of the world and then began to deal with John 1.
The focus of the message was on the fact that Our Savior is Unique in His Person and Our Savior is Unique in His Ministry.

In dealing with His Person, he spent some time dealing with the fact that Jesus is God and Man.

In dealing with His Ministry, he reminded us that the Savior Who resides with man (v.14) ministers grace and ministers truth.

Pastor Brooks is one of those guys who always looks young. He still looks pretty much like he did back in the days when he was in The Printing. He also has a great memory. He still remembers my name even though I am a nobody who he has only seen on a few occasions since college and even in college I was a nobody in Inter Society Council when he was the President of ISC.

The presentation was well-done (despite the bad time slot) and the connection of the Person and Ministry of Christ reminded me of the connection to what Christ taught the disciples on the Emmaus Road in Luke 24 (regarding His Person and Work).

The evening General Session on Wednesday night was by Dr. Stephen Jones, the President of Bob Jones University (my alma mater).

I am not sure that I have ever heard Dr. Jones preach before. I sat next to him in chapel back when he was a Senior in the Academy and I was a Freshman at BJU and I have seen him at some other functions over the years, but I can’t remember having heard him preach.
Dr. Jones preached on Psalm 51 and did a good job of handling the text and encouraging us to consider the Merciful God that we serve.

After reminding us of the situation of David’s sin and the distance between David and God because of David’s sin, he encouraged us regarding God’s Great Mercy.

Psalm 51 points out for us the Sinner’s Appeal - David had finally come running back to God and his only appeal was for God to have mercy on him. David’s appeal was not based on David’s position or anything in David - but rather on the character of God and God’s lovingkindness.

Psalm 51 also points out the Sinner’s Acknowledgment - looking at the different meanings for the words "sin", "transgression", and "iniquity" in the passage and being reminded of the utter inability for David to handle things on his own.

Psalm 51 also encourages us because of the Sinner’s Restoration. David was to have his joy restored, his ministry restored, and his testimony restored.

Overall, the General Sessions on Wednesday all dealt with familiar passages, but were encouraging in their nature.

National Leadership Conference - Day 1

Tuesday night was the opening night of the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania.

This is my seventh time attending the National Leadership Conference and I have been looking forward to attending. Mr. and Mrs. Rohe have been gracious hosts to me at their house about 30 minutes away from the conference. Pastor Matt Jury of Fairview Bible Church in Lewistown, Pennsylvania is their nephew and was gracious enough to be offer me the opportunity to stay with him at the house of his aunt and uncle.

One of the things that I enjoy about coming to the National Leadership Conference is that the material covered usually seeks to have a good balance between academic topics and practical topics. This year looks to be a little light on the practical, but it should be a good conference.
The theme of the National Leadership Conference this year is "Changeless Truths for Challenging Times." As I mentioned in my last post, this is the first conference in which Sam Harbin has been the Conference Coordinator.

It is still too early in the week to give any kind of overall evaluation, but there have been a couple of interesting things at the National Leadership Conference, so far.

When I picked up my notebook on Tuesday evening, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the notebook was once again filled with all of the workshop notes (or at least most of them - a few presenters apparently did not get their notes turned in on time for inclusion in the notebook). THIS IS A GOOD THING. Some of you may remember that I commented after last year’s conference that I was disappointed that they had done away with putting the notes in the notebook last year and it left me (and others) attempting to scramble for notes from the sessions that we did not attend. By having the notes in the notebook, it accomplishes at least a few important things - 1) it helps in our evaluation of which workshop we want to attend, 2) it helps in evaluating whether to purchase the CD/mp3 of a particular workshop, and 3) it makes the notebook a valuable resource well after the conference. (I generally like to keep my notebooks together, but in order to remind myself that I have a presentation on a particular topic in one of the notebooks, I slip a full piece of paper in the appropriate file folder referencing the workshop session and which notebook. For instance, when I get back to my office, I will add a sheet of paper that says, "No Other Gods: The True Nature of Idolatry Yesterday and Today by Steve Horine - National Leadership Conference 2007 - Workshop Session 1 #1" to my hanging file folder that is labeled "idolatry" so that I remember that I have it when I am working on a sermon or paper regarding idolatry.)

The opening general session on Tuesday night was a little different than anything I have ever experienced at a conference. Dr. Tim Jordan (Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church of Lansdale and Conference Host) led us in partaking of the Lord’s Table on Tuesday night. I am still evaluating that idea in my mind. I tend to believe that the Lord’s Table/Communion is to be done as part of a church service ("when ye are come together"). Of course, Dr. Jordan mentioned that this was still a church, but I tend to think of a church service and a conference hosted by a church are actually two different things. Anyway, it was definitely different. It was also interesting being on the other end of things since, as a Pastor, I am usually involved in the serving of the Lord’s Table instead of receiving the Lord’s Table.

Anyway, those are some initial things that I wanted to post about regarding the first night of the conference. I plan on doing a post regarding each day and the general sessions and then doing a series of posts regarding the individual workshops.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

2007 National Leadership Conference at Lansdale

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Today I leave for the National Leadership Conference at Calvary Baptist Theological Seminary in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. I have had the privilege of attending this conference for the last six or seven years and have found the conference to usually have very good general sessions and some very good workshops, as well.

Dr. Dave Burgraff did an excellent job with this conference over the years, but as he left to go to Clearwater Christian College in Florida, this year the conference (as well as the seminary) is under new leadership - Dr. Sam Harbin.

I am looking forward to the conference and I plan on making a number of posts regarding the conference.

If you can't wait until the reports from this week, you may want to check out some posts I wrote regarding last year's National Leadership Conference.

National Leadership Conference

Some additional comments about the National Leadership Conference

Separation from Professing Brothers (notes from Kevin Bauder's General Session)

Shaping the Future - Pastoral Internships (some comments about two sessions on Pastoral Interships - one by Pastor Mark Franklin of Hardingville Bible Church in New Jersey and one by Pastor Dan Brooks of Heritage Bible Church in South Carolina)

Because of the timing of the closing on our church building and moving into the new building last year, I did not go through and discuss each of the workshops and sessions like I had hoped to do. It is my hope that this year I will be able to give overviews and comments from more sessions.

If you are going to be there, I would love to meet you. If you are going to be there and would like to make some comments about things from the sessions, please feel free to do that, as well.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

All God's Children (Post 2)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Last week, I mentioned in a post that I was going to be posting some quotes from the book All God’s Children and Blue Suede Shoes. Below is today’s installment.

It may seem an extreme assertion at first, but I believe that the challenge
of living with popular culture may well be as serious for modern Christians as persecution and plaques were for the saints of earlier centuries
. Being thrown to the lions or living in the shadow of gruesome death are fairly straightforward if unattractive threats. Enemies that come loudly and
visibly are usually much easier to fight than those that are
undetectable.


Living with popular culture is indeed a challenge for modern believers. I am frequently reminded that as believers we are to be "in the world, not of the world." I am also challenged by the fact that we are are to "Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." (1John 2:15)

It seems that in many discussions we are finding that modern believers are advocating following popular culture and pursuing the world.

The temptations to follow the world are definitely strong. I don't know if those temptations really compare with the ones of saints under persecution such as Wycliffe, but I think that his point deserves attention.

When dealing with active persecution, it is easier to see the enemy. It is when the enemy is concealed that the fighting becomes more difficult.

Just my thoughts,

Frank


All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

No, I haven't gone suddenly contemporary or compromising.

All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes - Christians and Popular Culture is the name of a book that I have recently been reading. (I tend to read multiple books at a time, rather than going through one book and then starting another.)

I recently came across a book that feels like it is an essential part of the Scott Anoil library. Our Salisbury Branch of the Wicomico County Library has an area where they usually have a small selection (from ten to one hundred) of books that are available for purchase. The books only cost 50 cents for a hard back and 25 cents for a paper back, so I usually check the area whenever I am in the library to see what I might find that is work a quarter or fifty cents.

Recently I picked up a copy of a book entitled, All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture written by a Kenneth A. Myers. This book is part of the Turning Point Christian Worldview Series which is edited by Marvin Olasky. I regret to say that I know very little about those involved in this series and I have only read the first part of the book, but I find some of the comments being made by Mr. Myers (who produced and edited programs for All Things Considered on National Public Radio for eight years) to be very interesting.

The chapter titles alone tell you that this book is going to take you on an interesting journey. Here is a listing of the chapter titles.

1. Of the World, But Not in the World
2. What is Culture, That Thou Art Mindful of It?
3. Would You Take Jesus to See This Planet?
4. Popular Culture and the Restless Ones
5. Accounting for Taste
6. Better to Receive
7. Before the Revolution
8. Where Have All the Standards Gone?
9. Popular Culture's Idiom: Rock Around the Clock
10. Popular Culture's Medium: The Entertainment Appliance
11. Where Do We Go From Here?

As I make my way through the book, I am going to be occasionally posting some of the thought- provoking comments from Mr. Myers' book on this blog. In some cases, I will comment on the quotes. In other cases, I will simply post the quote and see what you think.

From the Introduction:

Christian concern about popular culture should be as much about the sensibilities it encourages as about its content.


...popular culture's greatest influence is in the way it shapes how we think and feel (more than what we think and feel) and how we think and feel about thinking and feeling.


Popular culture is in many ways a very trivial matter...but its triviality , while making it seem innocuous, also enables it to be extremely pervasive, and that is its most toxic quality.


What think ye, O ye thinking men (and women)?

Frank

What was preached on Sunday?

Monday, February 05, 2007

Over at My Two Cents, Chris Anderson used to ask folks about what they preached or heard preached on Sundays. Since he seems to have discontinued that practice, I guess I will start it up over here.

SOOOO, What did your Pastor preach about on Sunday? Post a topic, comment, or even outline below (for those who listen well to a Pastor who outlines well). If you are a Pastor or Preacher, what did you preach this past weekend?

Frank

Good service with the Bob Jones University Sacred Sounds Musical Ministry Team

Friday, February 02, 2007

Last night, Fellowship Baptist Church of Salisbury, Maryland, the church where I serve as Pastor, hosted the Bob Jones University Musical Ministry Team.

While we were down a little in attendance, the service went very nice as the team sang, played their instruments, and gave testimonies regarding God's working in their lives. Mr. Jon Reddick also delivered a short sermon on 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 and the value of love.

I appreciate the fact that the various Fundamental colleges and universities are willing to send their teams to small churches like ours. Since I have been down here in Salisbury, we have had the privilege of hosting teams from Bob Jones University, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, and Northland Baptist Bible College. Each time they have come it has been a blessing to our church and they have all represented their schools well.

While some might say that because we do not have a lot of teenagers, yet, in our church that these teams are wasting their times (after all, surely the justification for teams like this comes in part from the fact that they help to recruit teens to their respective schools). However, I appreciate the fact that the teams have not given that impression, but have instead taken an interest and talked with our folks and took the opportunity to minister to those who were there.

While we do have a few teens (and I praying that God would lead them towards a good solid Fundamental college), the reality is that by coming to a church like ours with very few teens, these teams are also helping to form a positive view of their schools in the lives of the parents and younger children - something that may indeed help in their enrollment down the road.

Anyway, I just wanted to take the time to encourage Pastors out there to host these teams when they are in your area and I wanted to say "thank you for coming" to Jon, Deb, Katie, Kimmy, James and Joey. Have a safe tour.

Just my thoughts,

Frank

Visit the New FFBC Blog

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Today marks the official launching of the FFBC Blog. I have been working on this off and on for awhile now and I am glad that it is finally up and running.

The FFBC Blog is a group blog by Pastors and members of the Fellowship of Fundamental Bible Churches. I have explained the concept in more details in my introductory post on the FFBC Blog - "Introducing the FFBC Blog - The Messenger for a New Millenium".

Please take some time to stop by and see what is up over there.

Just my thoughts,

Frank