Praying for a Pastor

An older, wiser brother in the Lord, Pastor Ligon Duncan, (one of the T4G founders) put these thoughts together on how one might pray for their pastor….

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1. That [your pastor] would know and love the living God, would have a saving interest in Christ, being purchased by His blood, and thus would be bound to the Lord by the indissoluble bond of the Holy Spirit.

2. That [your pastor] would know, embrace and ever more deeply understand the Gospel and be shaped by it in life and ministry.

3. That [your pastor] would be useful servant of the Lord, that he would know and love God’s word, God’s people, and God’s kingdom; that he would be used to build it up and so that it prevails even against Hell’s gates.

4. That [your pastor] would study, practice and teach the Word of the Lord, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

5. That [your pastor] would love to pray, because he loves to commune with his God, and that he would be a man of prayer, characteristically.

6. That [your pastor] would be ever dependent upon and filled with the Spirit; and that he would possess true Spiritual wisdom.

7. That [your pastor] would be holy unto the Lord. That his tongue and heart would be wholly God’s.

8. That [your pastor] would be kept from pride, and especially spiritual pride. That the Lord himself would be gracious to slay pride in him, and that your pastor would endeavor to always be putting pride to death, by the grace of the Holy Spirit.

9. That God would give [your pastor] guidance as to where to focus his efforts in ministry.

10. That He would protect [your pastor] from himself, from the enemy of his soul, and from all earthly enemies.

11. That no decision which [your pastor] ever makes or desire that [your pastor] ever pursues would restrict his ability to pour his whole soul into the Gospel ministry.

12.That many would be converted and many built up under [your pastor]’s ministry, to God’s glory alone.

13. That the Lord would bless [your pastor]’s wife, [. . . ], with holiness and happiness, Gospel assurance and Gospel rest.

14. That God would make [your pastor] a decent husband and father.

15. That [your pastor] would be a good friend to his wife, and love her self-sacrificially,

16. That [your pastor] would be a good daddy to his children. That they would love God, their parents and the church.

17. That [your pastor] would be a testimony in the home so that his wife might be able to respect him when he is in the pulpit, and so that [your pastor] will be able to feed her soul, along with the rest of the congregation.

I covet your prayers more than I can say,
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Day Two (Wed. PM) at The Banner Conference

A ‘MINI–SESSION’

After some time for fellowship (and helping a brother try to repair a laptop), the Wednesday afternoon sessions began … with something rather different. At 3:15 PM Pastor Mark Johnston (a Trustee of the Banner of Truth, a pastor from the UK) spoke for 15 minutes on Continue reading

Don’t mumble, mask or mangle the good news

Dever book

In his smart new book, THE GOSPEL AND PERSONAL EVANGELISM, Mark Dever makes the following point — in the very manner he is commending!

Clarity with the claims of Christ certainly will include the translation of the gospel into words that our hearer understands but it doesn’t necessarily mean translating it into words that our hearer will like. Too often, advocates of relevant evangelism verge over into being advocates of irrelevant non-evangelism. A gospel that in no way offends the sinner has not been understood.

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What’s the Good News?

Mark Dever’s answer…

“Here’s what I understand the good news to be: the good news is that the one and only God, who is holy, made us in his image to know him. But we sinned and cut ourselves off from him. In his great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, thus fulfilling the law in himself and taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn and trust him. He rose agin from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been exhausted. He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness. If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.”

— page 43, The Gospel & Personal Evangelism, Crossway, 2007

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God’s Gospel Testimony

On Sunday nights our church takes time in the service to hear testimonies from those gathered. My typical introduction says, “Who has something to share to encourage the saints? Either a morsel from the Word that blessed you this week? Or answered prayer, or a kind providence of God — great or small — to report? Who would like to go first?”

Then comes the pause … while folks decide if their testimony is worth sharing. To the best of my recollection, we’ve never gone lacking for a testimony.

Did it ever occur to you that without the “testimony” of God Himself, we would not know Him or about the salvation He offers mankind? Reading in puritan Thomas Manton this morning brought this to mind:

The Gospel is so called because there God hath testified how a man shall be pardoned, reconciled to God, and obtain a right to eternal life. We need a testimony in this case, [revelation, preaching or proclamation] because it is more unknown to us. The law was written upon the heart, but the Gospel is a stranger. Natural light will discern something of the law, and pry into matters which are of a moral strain and concernment; but evangelical truths are a mystery, and depend by the mere testimony of God concerning His Son.

I pray that you listen to God’s testimony (read it in the Bible), then believe it, and thank Him for it.

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Spotting Big Questions in Little Books

Coming home from the T4G Conference with 20+ books (most were gifts!) not only adds to the stacks of books in my Pastor’s Study but adds to my weekly reading agenda. It’s not that I will try to read them all in a few week’s time, but before I can decide which ones to read first, and which to set aside for a time, I must browse them all. This task is a real joy, but one still fraught with danger (that is, I could become caught up in the book and spent more time reading in it than I can afford that day).

Monday (typically my day off) I ambitiously took a handful of these books to the sofa for browsing after my devotions. I grabbed a bunch of the smaller books, foolishly thinking they could be browsed faster. I got caught right off the bat, and didn’t get past the first one! But this was really the Spirit’s work, I quickly realized (thank you, Lord). Continue reading

T4G Photos online

Here is a page at the T4G site with photos from the recent conference. There are few of the speakers, so I hope they add more.

And here are some other photos, at a fine blog site by Tim Challies, taken on Day Two of T4G, featuring John MacArthur and the congregaiton, etc (including the deaf interpreters present).

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Earthquake in Louisville!

Well, okay, the center of this morning’s 5.2 earthquake was in Illinois, but I felt it in my hotel room in Louisville, KY, this morning!

I was up at 5:25 AM in order to catch my ride to the airport. I was in my room on the 14th floor of the Galt House (in downtown Louisville, KY), standing just outside the bathroom door at 5:35 AM (still eastern time there). There was a tremendous rumbling over my head, like ductwork being banged arond by guys with hammers. I was tired by looked up to try to localize the noise, when I had some trouble looking up and keeping my balance — either the room swayed, or I was still waking up (we’ll never know). The noise got louder, and I then thought the construction site outside my window was the source. The noise stopped after 12-15 seconds. Nothing unusual could be seen outside the window. So I hit the shower, then headed out.

I didn’t know it was an earthquake until I got to the front desk to check out.

Perhaps there is a spiritual application here? I’ll do some thinking and get back to you….
Pastor David

T4G Thursday

The conference planners were well aware of the needs of pastors when they selected Piper and Mahaney to speak in the last two sessions of T4G. We have been greatly inspired and challenged and humbled. We need to “be done with lesser things” and make ample room in our lives for the great priority of preaching the cross and living cross-centered lives. We need to nourish our souls and find strength for our calling. Piper’s and Mahaney’s sermons were just what I needed.

I urge you to look online for the (free) recordings of all the T4G messages, and listen in to what we have been hearing. But save these two for last. If you only listen to a couple, listen to these two.

Session #7 — John PIPER
I’ve been a Christian nearly 30 years, and this session was one of the most gripping and powerful sermons I have heard in person. The Spirit of God moved through John Piper as a mighty wind, bringing the written Word of God to us, and calling us to be brighter and saltier even radical Christian ministers. Speaking primarily from 4 texts in the last chapters of Hebrews (10-11-12-13), he described what creates a radical Christian ministry. We are to be persuaded of the much greater value of the Treasure (Christ), and desire to be with Him, and suffer with/for Him “outside the camp” (Heb. 13:12-13). I cannot begin to tell you more of this heart-piercing message. I can tell you that I prize Christ (my “Ticket” and my “Treasure”) more than ever before! I am willing to work harder, simplify my life, and to suffer more for His sake than ever before — so help me God.

Session #8 — C.J. MAHANEY
Speaking from Philippians 1:3-7, Mahaney prepared us for our “reentry” into the hustle and bustle (the “carousel”) of ministry life. He claimed most pastors (even here) do not serve in their ministry with joy, as Paul did. Are we constantly joyful? Learn from Paul, writing from prison, how to keep your soul joyful and minister the gospel. First, practice GRATEFULNESS to God. Be thankful, and do not murmur (which is really a great sin, questioning the ways of God). Second, gain CONFIDENCE in the FAITHFULNESS of God, and be faithful yourself. As Charles Bridges said, It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. Third, develop and keep AFFECTIONS for others (cf: Phil. 1:7-8).

I am not Mahaney, or Piper, and I am certainly not Paul. But I am called to preach the same gospel. As Spurgeon said when thinking of some great preachers,

[Such men] might preach the gospel better than I can, but they cannot preach a better gospel!

Take courage and joy, my heart. Thank God for this conference. Amen

T4G Wednesday Lunch & PM Sessions

When 5,000+ folks adjourn for the lunch hour it can seem like a new olympic event. There are a limited number of fast food restaurants (and the fancy ones are too expensive and slow). My strategy: let my friend Ron walk back to the hotel, while I jogged west a couple of blocks to an “out of the way” Quiznos sub shop. Right! The line overflowed the little shop when I got there! But, practicing my patience, 20 minutes later I had our two hot subs and was off to the hotel for lunch with Ron.

Session #5 — Dr R.C. SPROUL
I was 30 minutes early to hear Dr Sproul Wednesday afternoon. I’ve met him a couple of times over the years, and consider myself a student of his (albeit at a distance). He’s a ‘father in the faith’ to me and to so many. My eyes welled with tears to see the clear signs of age (and illness) upon him. He arrived in a wheelchair (due to troubles with vertigo), and spoke while sitting at the pulpit on a bar stool. But none of this hindered his passion for the Word or for his task!

His topic was: The Curse Motif of the Atonement. You cannot grasp of the work of the cross without consideration of the wrath it displays against sin. “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree” the Bible says [Gal. 3:13]. Jesus, the Son of God, sinless Lord of heaven, hung on a tree! Dr Sproul opened texts from the OT in order to explain this passage in Galatians 3, and the context of God’s blessing and curse. RC preached a powerful message, not only as a serious theologian, but as the lover of God’s glory and the souls of men under the curse. I was much moved, and blessed.

A wonderful panel discussion followed, with great questions and simple (but profound) answers shared. How I long for such doctrine-loving camaraderie with other pastors in my own area!

Session #6 — Dr. Albert MOHLER
And can it be that I should gain an interest in the Savior’s blood? is a line from the great hymn by Wesley, which Dr Mohler quoted at the outset of his address. The cross ought always raise our hearts and minds in endless wonder — how is it that we should gain life by the death of Christ? Specifically his address on the doctrine of the atonement (on “penal substitution”) focused on why men hate this doctrine so much. In the midst of this far reaching academic message much was learned, and the conclusion seemed to hinge on the difference between human forgiveness and that of God — Who cannot simply forgive men (and condone their sin), but must maintain His justice and punish every sin.

I am so glad that Jesus died in my place, satisfying the Law’s demands, brining me peace.