conferences

Understanding Depression - Dr. Eric Johnson

My good friend, Dr. Eric Johnson, recently spoke at the CCEF National Conference here in Louisville, KY.  He spoke on the topic of Understanding Depression: Weakness, Willfulness, or Wisdom?  Below is his description of the session:

Sadness is a common experience in a fallen world. It was even prophesied of the Messiah that he would be a “man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Is 53:3). In this session, we will look at the range of sadness that humans can experience (from healthy to disordered and sinful), the different kinds of dynamics that can contribute to it (biological, social, situational, psychological, personal, and spiritual), and the different approaches the church has taken to severe depression over the centuries. Attention will be given to the contributions of contemporary naturalistic research on depression as well as its inadequacies from a Christian standpoint. Diagnosing symptoms and labels for extreme sadness have their place, but only as means to help suffering and sinful saints to cope with and transform their sadness by means of the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of God’s glory.

Click here to download the outline for this session.

Click here to download the PowerPoint for this session.

You can download all of the sessions from the conference here.

Together For Adoption - Live Bloggers

A couple of my friends are live-blogging the Together for Adoption Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Brent Thomas writes:

One of the beauties of this conference is that it strives to give us a heart for adoption precisely because, we, as believers, have been adopted by God. Even though we were once God’s enemies (Romans 5:10) and “children of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1) God, because of the great love with which He loves us, has made us part of His family. We can know share in God’s inheritance (Colossians 1:12). We can now draw near to God as our Father (Galatians 4:6).

Get to Know John Dickson

My friend, Matt Perman, recently guest blogged at the Leadership Summit at Willow Creek. He wrote that John Dickson's message on humility was the best he's heard on the subject. Dickson is Director of the Centre for Public Christianity and Sr. Minister, St. Andrews Anglican Church, Sydney, Australia. I had the privilege of meeting him at a conference we held for pastors back in 2008. He's the real deal - probably the clearest (and most encouraging) speaker on the topic of evangelism I've ever heard. I encourage you to read John's books and listen to some of his messages here.

Basics Conference: Do the Work of an Evangelist

Basics 2011

Alistair Begg, John Dickson and Rico Tice teamed up for this year's Basics Conference at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio. The theme: Doing the Work of an Evangelist. Everyone loves Begg. Dickson is one of the clearest speakers on evangelism I've ever heard. And Tice spent the last few years developing the highly acclaimed, Christianity Explored. Quite a line-up.

My pastor, Tony Rose, said it was one of the best conferences he's been to in awhile. Check out all the sessions here.

Video from Children Desiring God Conference

Seeing God's Face Before Anyone Else's

Whether you're a morning person or a night person, there's something to be said about giving your eyes the habit of looking upward from the minute you wake up. As John Piper said, "it's not about legalism, it's about desperation!" Here's one snippet of his message on Robert Murry McCheyne:

McCheyne's scheduled disciplines aimed at fixing the habit in his heart of living in constant communion with Christ. He had formed the habit of rising early to read the Scriptures and pray, and he tried to maintain this to the end of his life. He loved to meet Jesus early. He journaled, "Rose early to seek God and found him whom my soul loveth. Who would not rise early to meet such company?" He wrote to a student, "Never see the face of man till you have seen his face who is our life, our all." Or in another place, he said, "I cannot begin my work for I have not seen the face of God."

How do you develop a life of prayer?

This week I hope to post some of the highlights from last week's DG Conference on prayer. After reading Paul Miller's book, A Praying Life, I was excited to hear him speak on this topic in person. His approach to prayer is so freeing! Here are some notes from his message:

How do you begin to develop a life of prayer? The feeling of helplessness is necessary. Feeling that you are completely unable to do life on your own, to do life without Jesus. God needs to be active in all of the details of your life. I think that is a big reason why Jesus tells us to be like little children. Here are some passage regarding this call: Mark 10:13-16Mark 9:33-37Matthew 7:7-11Luke 10:21Matthew 21:14-17John 5:19Matthew 6:9-13, andMark 14:36.

What does it mean to come like a child in your prayer time? You get out of bed and start praying. It is not long until your mind begins to wander to the problems that you have. You think there is something wrong with you, and there is! You need Jesus. Being a child in prayer means to just come. Children are not tied up in all the details when they come to their parents. They just come.

Jesus says those are weary and heavy laden are to come to him. He doesn’t call the organized and fixed up but the broken. Why do we forget that when it comes to prayer? The dirty, muddy you is the real you. Don’t try to put on the spiritual façade in prayer. You can talk to God about whatever is on your heart, so just come as you are. Be weak and open in prayer before God. It is the same as the gospel. I’m just applying the gospel to your prayer life. We need to learn helplessness. That is what a child reflects.

You can watch/listen to his entire message here.

Francis Chan's Humble Confession

One of the most encouraging parts of the DG conference for me happened during the Q&A time with all the speakers. The panel was asked the following question: Should we be having a daily quiet time or prayer time with our wives? Here's Francis Chan's humble response:

FC: I’m learning a lot from this conference and especially from Joel’s talk last night (on Family Worship). I want to build up and so I don’t want you to follow my example. My wife and I don’t pray regularly together. When needs arise, we pray. I don’t have a regular family worship time. I spend a lot of time with children one-on-one. I’m thinking of Ephesians 4:29—I don’t want to say anything that won’t build you up, but I want to be honest with you. I look at what Joel was saying and I want that. I have issues in my life. But I almost feel weird sometimes talking about spiritual things with my family. Maybe it has something to do with my upbringing. When I do pray with my wife, it is awesome. I just have this weird block with praying with my wife.

Later he added this:

FC: We prayed a lot when we were dating. When we got married, she told me honestly that she thought we would pray and read more together. I was concerned for her walk and that everything was through me. I told her if I saw her praying and reading on her own more often, then it would be easier for me to do that with her. I have some great examples here and I’m going to go home and start trying this daily thing.

I got the opportunity to meet Chan after the conference, and I let him know how much I appreciated his honesty and vulnerability. I told him that we (as young leaders) need to see models of broken, humble leaders like himself. He said that he already called his wife and prayed with her on the phone. Wow. I am convinced that Chan's confession will have a ripple effect on hundreds-perhaps thousands-of men who struggle to pray with their wives.

I'll end with Piper's challenge to the pastors (and all of us men!):

JP: Try this: go home, and if you never regularly pray with your wife, tell her you are going to try some new things. When you wake, roll over, take her hand, and say a short prayer before getting out of bed. Start there. Praying together is an awesome barometer of how things are going. If you can’t talk to God together, you can’t talk to each other. This is important for Francis and me and you to start doing this. Just take thirty seconds when you go to bed and commend both of you to the Lord. “Lest your prayers be hindered” should start at home. This is the most intimate relationship you have on the planet. Jesus is the most intimate vertically. If those don’t connect, there is something wrong.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne Quotes

As I get ready to leave for the Desiring God Pastor's Conference on Prayer, I'll leave you with these quotes by Robert Murray M'Cheyne. John Piper will do a biographical message on his life on Tuesday afternoon. Should be good. Thanks again for your prayers. I'll be back on Wednesday. "A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more."

"For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ."

"The greatest need of my people is my personal holiness."

"Live near to God, and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities."

Going to DG Prayer Conference

On Monday morning I'm heading up north (I know, I'm crazy) to Minnesota for the Desiring God Pastor's Conference on Prayer. I'm really looking forward to it - not just to hear the great line-up of speakers, but to hear from God and grow in what it means to be a man of prayer. I long to know God more deeply, and as a husband, father and pastor, "devote myself to prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).

Would you pray for me this Mon - Wed? And if you're going to the conference, let me know!

The Art of Marriage

I'm really excited for this ministry of Family Life.  My wife and I attended the Weekend to Remember marriage conference a few years ago and were incredibly blessed.  Starting in November 2010, you will be able to search for The Art of Marriage locations in your community. Make sure to check out the website for more information and updates on this new video-based, one-and-a-half day marriage event built on the same biblically based content as the hotel Getaway.

Orange Parents

I just came across a new blog by Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof called Orange Parents.  The picture below explains the orange concept.  My buddy, Lisle Drury, and I attended the Orange Conference last year and it helped to spur us on to begin a new ministry to families called, S.E.E.D.S.  Though the gospel is not always put to the forefront of the 252 curriculum produced by these "Orange Leaders," there is much good to be gathered from their intentional focus on bringing the church and home together.  So I encourage you to bookmark this parenting blog.

Connecting Church and Home

I wasn't able to attend this year's Connecting Church and Home Conference here in Louisville, Kentucky.  But Tony Kummer took some great notes on the conference if you're interested.  The audio messages should be available at the conference website soon.  You also might be interested in downloading this free conference program given to the attendees.

Christian Parenting is Combat

Al Mohler recently spoke at the Connecting Church and Home Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  In his message, "Christian Parenting is Combat," he gives 4 things Christian leaders must do to connect the church and home.

#1 The church must present faithful vision of the family, marriage, and parenting – and equip believers to transfer that vision to the next generation.

#2 The church must overcome the zone of privacy and autonomy that keeps individuals from being accountable to the church community. We need to get into each others face. Our parenting and marriage are not properly ours – but belong to Christ and are the affairs of the whole church. Someone needs to get involved when people struggle in these areas.

#3 The church has got to be a place where brokenness is overcome by the Gospel. We slander the good news when we act like the only people who can glorify God are those who have never experienced brokenness.

#4 The church has to got to be the place where families are rescued and armed for the combat to which we are called. Discipleship is a battle. We come to church because we can’t afford not to come. We need to get together because we need to be equipped by the preaching of the Word of God and the fellowship of the Saints.

(HT: Tony Kummer)

To be a 6th Grader Again ...

I'm getting ready to head out with my good buddy Lisle on a 6th Grade Retreat this weekend.  The theme of our retreat is CHANGE.  That one word pretty much encompasses what's going on in the lives of kids at this age.  Lots of changes, inside and out!  Zits, Braces, and hair in weird places!  What an awkward time.  Wanting to be liked.  Wanting to fit in.  All of these changes can lead to confusion and frustration.  That's why we need a change of the heart first.  And when we become a new creature the change process has only begun.  Justified by grace and then sanctified by grace until we reach glory.   Please pray for this weekend.  And yes, that's me as a 6th grader on the left. One book Lisle and I recommend for parents during these awkward years is The Space Between by Walt Mueller.