12 Witnesses

Let these stones be a witness to what we have done here this day.

Rundown of the UU conference

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For great info, you can follow the twitter feeds of: Marty Duren, Micah Fries, Trevin Wax and me.

For blogs of the full content, be sure to check out Trevin Wax and Steve Weaver.

Ed Stetzer and the Future of Denominations

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Could you tell that I’ve lost my passion for live blogging?  I’d forgotten to even write about Ed until this morning. :)

But I do have several things to offer.

First, Trevin Wax is here and is ready to challenge Timmy Brister for champ of the live blog.  Here are his notes on Ed’s presentation.

Also, here is a link to the tweets I put up at the MissioScapes twitter feed.

Finally, I’d like to summarize my reaction to Ed’s super fast talking.

The gist of it all was that, yes, we will have denominations, but what they will look like has yet to be determined. Nevertheless, churches naturally will find each other and will work together if they have a passion for the Great Commission.

Still, there are benefits and burdens that go along with denominations. The burdens center around our tendency to focus on the mechanisms of our cooperation rather than our common calling.

The benefits are many and, quite frankly, are both obvious and listed in the above links.

What most struck me about the message was the forceful tone he took calling for cooperation.  This might not surprise you, but what might surprise you is that, at one point, Ed suggested that if certain people can’t get along with the rest of us, insist on attempting to run everyone else out or force us to conform, then THEY should leave the convention.

The people about whom he was speaking were obvious to the engaged SBC observer and even to the more disengaged former SBC blogger, like myself.

In terms of pointed rhetoric, Ed was somewhere between his usual provocativity and Marty Duren from back in the old days.  On the SBC spectrum of “lighting it up,” if Micah Fries is a 1 (humbly opinioned) and Ben Cole is a 10 (Shock & Awe), Ed normally resides in the middle at a happy 5.  I’d have to say that last night, Ed jumped up to 8 on a few occasions, which was kind of fun.

Especially because I agreed with him.

Had he been talking more about me (and he did from time to time) I might not have enjoyed it as much.

GCR Task Force Listening Luncheon

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GCR Task ForceIf you had told me 3 years ago that I would be sitting, at Ronnie Floyd’s invitation, in his church listening to him, Johnny Hunt and Al Mohler talk about the SBC as being in decline and the need for us to deconstruct that which is complex and bulky to get to what is efficient in accomplishing God’s Mission – I would have thought you insane.

But there I sat, front and center, listening to them say some of the things I had been thinking for years.  Even taking some hits from some dude channelling the spirit of Roger Moran until interrupted and chastised by both Hunt and Floyd, being further corrected by Mohler.

How did I get here?  Am I dreaming?

Some will complain that these guys are just classic middle adopters, attempting to lead from the middle.  Others will say that they’ve offered nothing new.  I’ve heard others say they are simple politicians, finding the flow of the crowd and getting out in front.

Those things may be.  I can’t tell you, but you see, the thing about a middle adopter is, he’s adopted.

These guys seemed pretty genuine to me.  If not, time will tell.  The telling of their sincerity will be in Orlando and it is something for which they asked.  Judge us by Orlando.

Fair enough!

Before I quit blogging about the SBC, I said that if the statesmen of the SBC stood against the wall while I stood to the mic, then the SBC will fall away into decline and there would be no stopping it.

The big deal about the principles and ideas being put forth by the GCRTF is that those speaking are not on the fringe of power within the SBC, but they are the leaders and statesmen.

About time.  Well done.  Thank God.

David Fitch on Missional Orders as Church Planting

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Missional pastor/author/speaker/blogger David Fitch speaks to the difference between Church Planting in the Post Christendom era that America is now in and strikes the contrast against the way it was once done when the Kingdom of Christ was perceived to overlap the kingdom of men in a more substantial way than today – just a few short decades ago.

Interesting to note early on his commentary about the perception of America Culture by American Christians and how it varies from region to region.


Dave Fitch – the Cultivate Talk on Missional Orders from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

Missional Non-Conference with David Fitch

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David Fitch has announced a Missional Non-Conference (no fees, no one selling anything) in Ft. Wayne, Indiana January 3.

If you are interested in attending, he’d like for you to email.  You can get more information at David’s blog:

Missional Non-Conference.

Founders Conference: Thu. am update

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I think I am going brain dead.  I’ve been writing “Founders” as “Founder’s” which is singular possessive instead of simply plural.  Just for those particularists out there who saw it.  I, too, saw it.  In my mind’s eye.  Last night.  Laying in bed.  Trying to sleep.

I did manage to overcome my obsessive compulsive nature and go on to sleep.  I got up first thing this morning and fixed it, though.  Small steps.  I know.

Anyway, Bonnie’s not feeling great, so I am going to make the second part of Ed Stetzer’s presentation today and then come home.  I’ll write from home this afternoon covering both of Ed’s talks and then also contribute another post that doesn’t relate to the conference so much.

Founders Conference: Voddie Baucham

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Well, I was all set to write out the entire outline of Voddie’s presentation when I looked over on Timmy Brister’s blog and found a more detailed set of notes that was better organized.

He did this while sitting in the meeting.  He did this while getting up twice to take pictures.

No sense in reinventing the wheel.  Go read what Timmy wrote.

I’ll probably write something about Ed Stetzer’s talk tonight and tomorrow, but TB’s got you covered on the live blog, and since my computer is not cooperating very well, I think I’ll let it go.  I will also write one more post related to Founder’s, but that will not be a live blog of any conference.

Founders Conference: Andy Davis

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Dr. Andy Davis is the Pastor of FBC, Durham, NC, who came to a theologically divided church which is typical of many FBC situations in the old south.  He led the church back to a theologically Biblical standard and shared with us ten “Dangers of Reforming a Church.”  (Or… 10 things to not do when reforming a church – Art)

I have to say that this was a powerful message and hit me right where I needed it and I heard that from many people in the conference as well.

While reforming FBC, Durham, Dr. Davis said he saw the greatest glimpse of the glory of God at work.  He also saw the most bitter conflict and pain in ministry.  In the middle of teaching expositionally through Scripture, he said he felt led to preach, out of sequence, through Revelation 1:10-20.  Jesus is speaking to John and asking for John to write to the Pastors (angels – angelos or messengers) at the seven churches nearby the Island of Patmos, where John was imprisoned.  Jesus is walking among the lampstands (churches) made of gold (value/purity) and holding the stars representing the pastors in His right hand – a very comforting image.  The church belongs to Christ and the undershepherds are in His hand.

Facing the reformation of the church was a very daunting task.  As he read Revelation 1-3, he was confronted with the “immense danger of NOT reforming the church”:  that the lampstand would be taken from its place – judgement would come from God Himself.

10 Dangers of Reforming the Church

  1. Forgetting the Centrality of God.  The church is God’s and He is the central figure in it.  Trusting Him is crucial to success.  Acts 20:28 – the church was bought by His blood.  1 Cor. 3:17 – God will judge who tears down His temple.
  2. Self Reliance.  We always turn to ourselves to see if we can handle the situation.  2 Cor. 1:9 – Rely on God who raises the dead.  Deut. 1:41 – Israel has refused to take the promised land and God declare they must wander for 40 years.  Their response is to go up to the hill country and fight after God says He will no longer go with them.  They chose to go as if it were easy. Self reliance kills in two ways.  1.  You look into yourself and don’t find what you need to accomplish the task, so you blaspheme God and refuse the call.  2.  You look inside and think you do find what you need to answer the task, so you trust yourself and ignore God.
  3. Failure to Rely on God’s Word alone – or the Sufficiency of Scripture.  Do you believe that God’s Word has all that is needed and is powerful enough?  Is. 55:10-11, God’s Word will not return void.  2 Cor. 4:2 – Renouncing secret ways avoiding worldly political maneuvering and being completely honest, places trust in God and His Word.
  4. Deficiency in Prayer.  This is from a title of one of Jonathan Edward’s sermons.  1 Sam. 12:23 – Far be it from me to sin against God by failing to pray for you.  Eph. 1:15-23 – Praying that they may know God, know God, and know God – “17 [I pray] that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, [a] would give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 [I pray] that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength.” -HCSB
  5. Pride toward you opponents.  That you are somehow better that they are.  Luke 18:9-14 – The tax collector and the pharisee.  2 Tim 2 – Pray for them to repent and come to the Truth.  What do you have that you did not receive?  If you received it, why do you boast as if it were from you?
  6. Fear of what man thinks.  It causes a pastor not to preach the full counsel of God’s Word.  Gal.1:10 – Now trying to please man or God?  Is. 51:12-13 – God is the one who comforts.  Who are we to fear man who dies and withers like the grass?  Ps 37 – all of it, but especially v.35-36 – I saw a wicked man flourishing and then I passed by and he was gone.
  7. Making Non-Essential into Essentials.  Not everything is worth dividing over.  Most arguments in the church are over control of non-doctrinal, non-essential issues.  “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity” – Unsourced, mistakenly attributed to Augustine on occasion.  (Also, he listed Scripture here, but I missed it. – Art)
  8. Impatience.  1 Tim 4:3 – …with great patience…  You didn’t come to your convictions overnight, how can you expect others to do so?
  9. Discouragement.  Satan sells it to the Pastor, because if we were to don the full armor of God in Eph. 6, he could not stand.  Therefore, he sells us on the belief that all is lost.
  10. Failure to develop men around you.  Paul/Timothy, etc.

Inversion:

  1. Keep glorifying God first and foremost.  It’s His church.
  2. Rely only on God.
  3. Unleash God’s Word.
  4. Saturate with prayer.
  5. Humble yourself.
  6. have a strong fear of God and no one else.
  7. Put the Essentials first.
  8. Be Patient.
  9. Fight discouragement with God’s Word.
  10. Surround yourself with Godly men who will fight on God’s behalf (not stand aside while you fight).

Founders Conference: Ted Christman

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Well, it’s not live blogging, by any means, but I’ve gotten a tremendous amount out of today’s sessions, so I feel compelled to pass them on to whomever might be interested. I was taking good old fashioned notes on paper, so you get the outline, but I think it is worthwhile.

If you want more, be sure to check out Timmy Brister’s Live Blog over at Provocations & Pantings.

So Ted Christman, a pastor from Owensboro, KY, home of the Moonlite Bar-B-Q, exposited Psalm 1 and did a masterful job.

Here are the highlights.

Theme: The Present and Future Blessing of the Righteous & the Present and Future Misery of the Wicked.

General Observations:

  1. The text divides the whole of humanity into 2 categories: Righteous and Wicked. These categories are throughout the Bible and seen throughout history.
  2. The righteous experience joy, which is not worldly happiness, but exuberance based on God’s presence and blessing, not circumstances.
  3. Delighting in the “Law” is delight in the Lord Himself.

“Blessed” man: (The word “blessed” is the same word that Christ used to open the Sermon on the Mount – Note from Ted Christman)

  1. Negatively described – Where he is not, what he is not doing. He is not following the counsel of the wicked. We may hang out with the lost, but not because we relish their company or influence. We are compelled to do so because they are lost and we have compassion for them.
  2. Positively described – Delights in the Law of the Lord. Shows true desire to seek God that comes from a heart of passion inspired by God Himself.
  3. Analogously described – “Like” a tree with rich nourishment and bearing much fruit. It can stand the heat because of the nurture provided.
  4. Pragmatically described – In all he does, he prospers.
  5. Covenantally described – The Lord “knows” (reveals deep intimacy – TC) the way of the righteous.
  6. Morally described – He is “righteous” (his character and his way are “upright” – Art)

Wicked man:

  1. Morally described – Wicked.
  2. Contrastively described – Shows the differences between the righteous man and the wicked man.
  3. Analogously described – “Like” the chaff, with no taste and no nourishment, of no significance so it is easily blown away.
  4. Eschatologically described – Faces judgement; will not be with righteous, will perish.

A final word of encouragement to Pastors and others:

“Delights in the Law of the the Lord and meditates on it day and night.” Application:

  1. Delighting in God’s Word is essential for salvation, for happiness. Not doing the negative descriptors in verse 1 is no guarantee of the benefits described in verse 3. Only delighting in God’s Word will reap those benefits, but so many simply think that avoiding certain actions is “good enough.”
  2. Delighting in God’s Word is dynamic. It builds upon itself and draws one in. Like a completely addictive drug, that only benefits you and has no down side. Would you take it?

People of our churches need pastors who are passionate for His Word.

Founders Conference Preview

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They’ve asked for Timmy Brister to be the only one to live blog the conference as they are also streaming the sessions and they don’t want to drain all the band width. Must be the inside track thing TB’s got going.

Still, they can’t deny me access via my Centro (I’ve replaced my Treo recently) and its cell signal. :)

Anyway, I can give spot updates with my phone and overviews from the full keyboard later.

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