Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Together for the Gospel

This past week our pastoral team, along with all the pastors in Sovereign Grace, attended the pastors conference called Together for the Gospel which was hosted by four men: CJ Mahaney, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and Al Mohler. These men spoke along with John Piper, RC Sproul and John MacArthur.

There were 3,000 pastors from across the country and many different denominations. It is no exaggeration to describe this event as both historic and anointed by God’s Spirit. I can’t do justice to describing the effect of sitting under the teaching of these world-class leaders as they exhorted us to faithfully preach God’s word and proclaim the gospel. But beyond their teaching, it was moving to witness them come together in celebration and defense of the gospel.

It was also deeply moving to be with so many brothers from around the country who are devoting their lives to proclaim Christ and Him crucified. To sit with them, talk with them, and sing with them was a joy.

But my greatest joy was seeing God use my dear friend, CJ Mahaney. He passed on the leadership of our church to me so that he could be free to serve God in new ways. What a thrill to see at this momentous event some of the "new ways" he is being used.

CJ just did an outstanding job. His leadership and participation was essential. His example of humility, his passion for the Savior and his teaching deeply effected all the men present. And he added some much needed humor.

The following is a letter I emailed CJ after the conference. One brief note of explanation: before his session, CJ, with his typical self-deprecating humor told the story of the pilot of a Cessna airplane finding himself on an airport runway with one of the huge Concord planes. When it took off, the ground shook. CJ said that with each of the previous speakers, we'd experienced Concords taking off, but his own session was like that little Cessna puttering into the sky. Knowing this will explain what I reference at the close of the letter...

My friend, my mentor, my hero and my pastor:

I am so proud of you. I am bursting with gratefulness to God for you, for your example for the job you did at the conference, for the outstanding message you gave.

I just want you to know that you preached so faithfully, there was obvious conviction taking place throughout the room. The conference would have been incomplete without your message and without your voice throughout. You weren’t merely representing “below average” guys like me, you were caring for REAL PASTORS through your efforts.

This is the greatest encouragement I can give you: a pastor named Eric came to the conference by himself. We met him at the airport waiting in line at a restaurant and invited him to eat with me, Eric Simmons, Brian and Joe. He pastors a church of 60 in Kermit, Texas, which is in the middle of nowhere. He is alone in his work. He has no team. He loved the conference. At the end of the meal he said this:

“Tell, CJ he was a concord today...but he has the heart of a Cessna.”

That my friend is why you are so great in my eyes, but more importantly in the eyes of God. You are a concord but you walk with an awareness of your weakness and dependence on God. I hope that when you sleep tonight you will dream of what happened Sunday morning...three thousand pastors along with five of the most brilliant Christian leaders in the world on the front row, listened to their friend and faithful expositor preach the word with clarity, boldness and humility! My friend, it was not a dream! It really happened by God’s grace.

Thank you for doing this conference so that our team and all of Sov. Grace could participate. We were so well served.

With deep love and respect,

Joshua


If you're a pastor, I would highly recommend that you get ahold of the messages from the conference. They're available from the Sovereign Grace Store.

|

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?