Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Recap from The Gospel Coalition Women's Conference: Part 1

I'm struggling for words.  I just attended an amazing conference this weekend, and I wish I could download it all for you right here!  Okay, so I'm going to try, but do yourself a favor and check out the Gospel Coalition website in a week or two, for the videos of every main stage plenary session.  Over the next few days, I'm going to give a {somewhat?} brief summary of what I learned from this incredible event, and I hope it encourages you and helps you see our Great God more clearly, as it did for me!

Pre-conference:  Three great speakers, even before main event Friday evening started....

Tim Keller (senior pastor at Redeemer Presbyterian in NYC) and wife, Kathy, Marriage in Gospel Focus

Marriage is wreck in the United States, let's face it.  Not all marriages, but the large majority have unreal expectations and even if Christian, oftentimes are distorted in their effort to display the Gospel and Glory of Christ and His church.  Tim and Kathy gave some staggering statistics, including one widely known:  the divorce rate in and out of the Church is 50%.  The secular view of a 'me-centered' marriage is devastating, and besides being greatly flawed, it is more likely than not, very unsuccessful!  Tim and Kathy pointed out the incredible impossibility of finding someone who wants to give in to the other's 'me-centered' viewpoint, and even worse, if both have this viewpoint....I have heard it described as having 'two ticks and no dog'... :)  {Thanks, Evan and Bev} The idea of love as covenant is based in Christ's love for us, and is not only legal, but deeply spiritual.  Another point that struck me, was Tim's comment that the 'thrill' of the early days of love actually serves to stroke one's ego, and is not 'real' love....the deeper love comes later, after days, months, years of self-sacrifice.  And this is only made possible through Christ.  Kathy finished with a reminder that BOTH husband and wife get to display aspects of Christ to the other; Jesus displayed submission, through accepting the Father's will, and Jesus showed headship, in providing for His bride, the Church.  She also commented on the great danger we face in marriage, of idolatry to our spouses....This talk left me excited to live up to the calling I have received as a wife, a tremendous opportunity to display Christ's love to both my husband, and the world.

Don Carson:  I missed this talk for lunch {the sessions were jam-packed next to each other :) } but check back on TGC's website soon for the complete video.

John Piper (Pastor for Preaching & Vision at Bethlehem Baptist):  The Search for Joy and the Supremacy of the God in the Gospel

Wow.  I was so excited to hear Piper speak!  My expectations were {happily} met, as he discussed the Good News with great passion and a genuine heart of love for our Savior.  It is obvious that Piper believes what he preaches!  But on to the summary....Piper has one main point, in all his writings, all his talks, and that is the truth that Jesus is our all-satisfying treasure, as seen in the Gospel.  His definition of the Gospel was this:  "the great work of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus, in which He destroys every obstacle to our joy, and shows His glory most fully by becoming the object of our joy."  He then went on to lay out 7 obstacles to finding joy in Christ:  the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9 and Gal. 3:13), our alienation from God (Eph. 2:13 and Rom. 5:10), our guilt and sin (1 Peter 2:24), our absence of righteousness (Rom. 3:10, 2 Cor. 5:21 and Rom 5:19, our death from this life (Heb. 9:27 and Rom. 8:11) , spiritual deadness (Eph. 2:4) , and the fact that Satan hates our joy (Col 2:15).  He followed with the question:  how do we know if we have experienced the Gospel?  His answer:  "if we realize that these 7 obstacles are only a MEANS to the Gospel.  So, you might be thinking {as I was} What IS the goal of the Gospel, if it is not these 7 things?  Well in true Piper fashion, he lured us in with these 7 points and came back with his main point {always is his main point :) }, that the goal of the Gospel is "to enjoy, savor, be satisfied in, and walk with God."  "No one praises what he/she does not enjoy," said Piper.  "We are to be filled with happiness in Jesus at the expense of everything else," he said, followed by recounting the parable of the man who sold all to buy a field (Matt. 13:44).  He closed with this:  "We are called to an unremitting pursuit of happiness in Jesus and not the world, or broken cisterns," (Jer. 2).  I came away from this talk with a renewed desire to pursue God as my greatest joy, not as an obligation or duty...what a privilege we have to be called His children!

Blessings...and stay tuned for more on the conference...



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