Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Basics Conference @ Parkside Church, Day 2

I wanted to share briefly the highlights of yesterday's Pastors conference at Parkside Church. It began as I went to another training session for Logos Bible Software, which I purchased, installed, and indexed the night before. I was greatly encouraged to see how much I will be able to do with this program. Although, I am overwhelmed at how much it can do. Now to the real sessions that instructed me.

Session #1: John Dickson

The first session I went to was with John Dickson, who is from Australia. I guess you have to have an accent in order to speak at the Basics Conference. He spoke from Philippians 1-2 on the topic of "The Medium & the Message: the church, the pastor, and the gospel." He asked 8 questions as he worked his way through the passage as he tried to apply Paul's gospel emphasis to our hearts.
  1. Am I helping my people to become citizens of Christ's Kingdom more than citizens of 21st Century America?
  2. Am I enhancing the platforms of Junior Pastors?
  3. Do I allow God's Word to speak to me as much as I speak it to others?
  4. Am I motivating others to evangelism by obliging them to a command or by inspiring them about Jesus' majesty?
  5. Do I talk about money in church as a mundane necessity or as an act of worship & a promotion of the gospel?
  6. Is my congregation's stance toward the unbelieving world one of admonition or mission?
  7. Is there a factional or competitive ministry relationship I should mend today?
  8. How can my congregation increasingly embody the gospel of Christ's love we proclaim?
These were some very interesting questions I will need to spend some time thinking about, particularly #7 & 8.

Session #2: Rico Tice

The next session I attended was by Rico Tice. He once again went through portions of Mark's gospel. His motto through Mark is to "teach the gospel by the gospel," meaning that as we let the gospel of Mark speak, we are teaching the gospel. He asked three important questions as he compared the attitude of Jesus with the Sons of Thunder (James & John).
  1. Are we living self-seeking or self-sacrifice?
  2. Are we living service or power?
  3. Are we living suffering or security?
These were helpful and impactful to me personally. It is so easy to seek the glory for ourselves, but Jesus says that that we are called to be a servant of all. I appreciated him saying over and over again Jesus' words in Mark 10:43, "But it is not this way among you." Or at least, it is not to be that way among us.

Session #3: Alistair Begg

In one of the breakout sessions, I listened to Alistair Begg on the issue of Evangelistic Preaching. He called that, "Preaching the gospel to unbelievers with a view to their conversion." There are many things that stood out to me, but let me just give one statement at the end. I challenge us all to think about this statement. "Do I really believe the Spirit of God takes the Word of God into the heart of people?" If so, then preach the Word & let God do the work.

Session #4: Rico Tice

Rico Tice walked through the curriculum he has designed called Christianity Explored! I think I will check this out at some point. It looks like an interesting study to take people through who do not know Jesus. It looks like a good evangelism tool.

Session #5: John Dickson

This was the last session of the evening. Dickson continued to speak about the book of Philippians, particularly the last half of chapter 1 & first half of chapter 2. He framed it around this concept of citizenship. As Christians, we are called to not to this world, but to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel (1:27). The gospel is that thing that calls us or shapes us out of this world. Of course this is seen in the humility of Jesus in the beginning of chapter 2, as Jesus exemplifies that greatness is found in humility.

He said, "The Christian revolution was a humility revolution." It is a shame when we are ever proud as Christians, because the leader was one of humility. In the end, he said that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (2:12) and gave a couple questions in conclusion. Do we have the mind of Christ . . .

  • In our marriages?
    • what would our marriages look like if we truly lived the gospel and put the other person as more important than ourselves in everything?
  • In our bedrooms?
    • what would our sexual lives look like if we truly lived the gospel and put the other person as more important than ourselves in everything?
  • In our criticisms?
    • is the gospel shaping us to not be defensive?
    • is the gospel moving us to gain feedback, even if it is negative?
  • In our communities?
He ended with an illustration of a friend of his who on his deathbed made this statement: "People cling to silly things that keep them from the gospel." May we not be that person!

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