T4G: My Thoughts
Alright, just about everyone has already shared their reflections and thoughts concerning last week, so I figured I would tag along the tail end of the conversation with a few thoughts of my own. I haven’t been able to get around to read everyone’s take on things, so some of what I say might sound familiar (or not). My thoughts are broken down in three areas: the Band of Bloggers Meeting, the Conference, and Personal Reflections. Here they are:
- Band of Bloggers Meeting
Exactly a month ago I decided to pursue the opportunity of having a meeting of bloggers attending the Together for the Gospel Conference. Figuring that it would probably be the only time throughout the year that I could meet these guys, I could not pass up the opportunity of at least throwing it out there and seeing if there was any interest. Well, we ended up with over 70 bloggers at the meeting, a full hour panel discussion, lots of Chick-fil-a meals, a free book, and some really encouraging fellowship. Not having realized all the many different responsibilities of stuff like transportation, greeters, dinner, etc. caused me to be constantly be-bopping around to make sure everything was taken care of. I hate it that I did not have as much opportunity to hang out and chat like I wanted; however, I was able to meet and greet many who attended, all of whom were so warm and encouraging to me. Were there things that I would do differently next time? Definitely. Do I feel that it was a success? I hope so. More than anything, I wanted to gather like-minded brothers together who have (or may not have) known each other for quite a while but never actually met in person.
I remember during the conference they asked for those who came along to raise their hand. I thought for a moment. I did come by myself, but I was not by myself. At almost every turn in the big conference room was a brother whom I knew because of their blog. It was like family for me. These brothers were not strangers. They were friends—friends whom I hope to serve and continue to know in the days ahead.
On another note, I have the audio from the panel discussion. As soon as I can figure out how to rip it into MP3 and throw it up on the internet, it will be available. My guess is in a day or two. I want to say a special thanks to Justin Taylor and Tim Challies, two bloggers whom I greatly admire, for being on the panel. I would also like to thank Dr. Mohler and Dr. Moore for graciously opening up the Heritage Hall and participating in the panel discussion. I am so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of this fellowship. I believe it is just getting started, as the Band of Bloggers website and directory gets going.
- The T4G Conference
There was such a fiery and electric spirit to the event with everyone together that it caused me to remain in silence much of the time. Often I just meditated on the words of the songs which we sang as I heard the powerful tenor of 3,000 voices declaring God’s worth and beauty. I especially appreciated the careful and thorough layout of the conference with timely and powerful messages. Each message revealed that whether it was the marks of the minister, or the gospel which we preach, or the study of our doctrine and lives, what shapes the man, the message, and the ministry is the Word of God. In a day where so much is substituted for the sufficiency and primacy of Scripture, it was refreshing to hear such clear-headed, warm-hearted exposition and exultation (as Piper would call it). Probably the most memorable moment for me came on the first night as I heard C.J. Mahaney share his heart about how God had saved him and called him to gospel ministry. As he poured out his heart with such humility and genuine gratitude to the Lord, I saw a man who has never ceased to be amazed by grace, who confesses with such tear-filled joy, and speaks with graceful expressions of one whose sweet disposition is sustained by clear vision of
- Personal Reflections
As I reflected personally on this past week, a couple of things jump out in my mind. First, I was amazed at how warm and loving everyone was to me. I know this would sound like a given, but I never take for granted such kindness shown to me. One particular highlight was hanging out with Marc Heinrich throughout the course of the conference. Marc is just incredible to hang out with. You know, there are some people whom you just have to work to feel like you get along (you know, try to say the right thing, be funny, etc.); however, Marc has the gift of allowing you be you and have a great time at that. It wasn’t planned, but we just ended up standing next to each other during the conference and going out to eat, or waiting to catch Tim Challies picking his nose.
Speaking of Tim, it turned out that I was able to spend all Friday afternoon with he and Paul Martin (his pastor). This, too, was not planned, but the Lord saw fit that he would grant me a couple of hours to hang out with these guys. We talked about many different things, walked through Dr. Mohler’s personal library, and searched for ballet books for his daughter in Border's Bookstore. What I discovered in this short time with Tim and Paul is partly why I believe God has given him such influence in the blogosphere and around the word—they were men of genuine humility who exuded godliness. They are also men who find their character before the face of God, not a stat page. And the great thing about this week was, I could say this for dozens of men I met.
If I could, I would like to take each name and tell you what I enjoyed about each person/blogger I had the privilege of meeting, but this post is already past my daily limit. Suffice it to say, last week was momentous for me, not simply because we came together for the gospel, but we came together for one another. May the mystery of the gospel, Christ in us, the hope of glory, cause us to treasure Christ above all things and regard one another as brothers and sisters whose purpose is to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.