Last week, I travelled down to Louisville, Kentucky, for Together for the Gospel 2014, three days of heavy duty teaching, singing, and visiting with friends from around the continent who you only see at events such as these.
This was my second time at T4G, and it was a very different experience for me this time around.
I didn’t live-blog (sorry folks who were looking forward to it!). I didn’t take copious notes. I even missed a few sessions due to some other commitments (I’m catching up on those now!).
But, y’know something? It was probably the best conference experience I’ve ever had. Here are my top five moments:
1. People who are more than profile pics! These conferences are always a double-edged sword for introverts like me. I have to work really, really hard to be social as it’s tempting to curl up in a corner with a book and hide. But over the three days I was in Louisville, I got to see many older friends (Alex Leung, Chris Poblete, Pat Aldridge, Dave Jenkins, Derek Rishmawy, Dan Darling, Matt Capps, and Jonathan Howe among them) while meeting several folks for the first time who I’ve really enjoyed interacting with via Twitter like Matt Sims and (all-too-briefly) Mike Leake.
2. DeYoung brought it. Of the messages I was present for, Kevin DeYoung’s may well have been the standout moment of the entire conference. He offered a powerful exposition of Jesus’ view of the Bible—a defence of inerrancy that wasn’t intended to encourage mental assent, but delighted and devoted confidence in the Bible as the Word of God.
A few standout quotes:
- “Is your chastened epistemology a sign of humility or that you’re hard of hearing?”
- “If quoting Deuteronomy to the devil was enough for Jesus, it should be enough for us.”
- “When we become proud of our doubts, we are guilty of the sin of unbelief.”
John MacArthur, a man not known for positive hyperbole, had this to say: “Not only is this one of the finest talks you’ve heard, it’s one of the finest you will ever hear.” Listen at T4G.org.
3. Listening to 7000+ (mostly) men sing. Loudly. Once again, Bob Kauflin led us all in singing praise to the Lord, and once again, it was the one of the best and most genuine times of singing I’ve been a part of. There was nothing showy, no lasers or smoke machines, just Kauflin and a piano. The attendees sang—and more importantly, they sang like they meant it.
(Worship leaders, there might be a lesson here…)
4. The gospel by Numbers. In what I’d definitely call as the close-second to DeYoung’s inerrancy message, Ligon Duncan showed us the gospel in a passage you wouldn’t have expected: Numbers 5:1-4. These verses, the defilement laws, “show that those who are unclean make everything they touch unclean,” but they also have a massive gap: there’s no way to be made clean in them. In the gap, they serve an essential purpose: to point us to the One who makes all things clean!
“Jesus is the One who makes all things unclean clean… All this he does so you can say when sharing the gospel, there’s nothing he cannot touch, nothing he cannot make clean…. so that we might become the righteousness of God.”
Isn’t that the kind of Jesus we want to tell people about?
5. The freedom to rest. Wednesday night I was completely bagged. I had a lot to do that day and was pretty wiped by the time 7:30 rolled around. So, rather than walking over to the Yum Center and catching Matt Chandler’s message, I did something new for me: I went to my room, wrote for a bit and relaxed for a couple of hours. Feeling the freedom to actually go and rest is new for me, and it’s something I’m really grateful for.
So those are probably my favorite moments of T4G 2014. Now, to get back to the normal routine and figure out where to put this big stack of books that came home with me!
Were you at T4G or did you listen online? What was a highlight moment for you?