Friday, August 01, 2008

Desiring God National Conference 2008 - An invitation

It's not too late to get signed up! I expect this conference to be fully sold out, so I might be camping out overnight to get a good seat :-) Below is a message from Dr. John Piper inviting you to the upcoming Desiring God Conference.

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

An Invitation to
the Desiring God 2008 National Conference
September 26-28
Minneapolis Convention Center

Dear Friends at Bethlehem and Beyond,

I'm writing to invite you to an unusual conference. This Fall's Desiring
God National Conference is one of the most extraordinary we have
conceived. Our expectations are very high that its effect will be
mind-sharpening, heart-humbling, mouth-seasoning,
backbone-strengthening, and Christ-acclaiming. Our theme is The Power of
Words and the Wonder of God.

This conference is an overflow of our amazement at the significance of
words. Think of it:

* the Son of God is called the Word (John 1:1)

* the universe was created with a word (Hebrews 11:3)

* all things are held in existence by Jesus' word (Hebrews 1:3)

* God reveals himself to us through his word (1 Samuel 3:21)

* Jesus healed and cast out demons with a word (Matthew 8:16)

* faith is sustained by words (Hebrews 3:13)

* we fellowship with God by the words of prayer

* we worship him through the words of song and confession and preaching

* our relationships are all sustained and nurtured by words

* we speak our love to each other by words; kings rise and fall by their

* politics and news and entertainment and business and education and
international relations and families and friendships-all are possible
because of words.

Language is God's idea. Words are his creation. They belong at the heart
of who he is. They have huge potential for good-and catastrophic
potential for evil.

The tongue, James says, is seemingly untamable. "With it we bless our
Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the
likeness of God" (James 3:9).

Every issue today-political, religious, educational, theological-relates
to the way we use words-thinking them in our heads and speaking them
with our mouths.

What would the world be like-the home, the church, the school, the
public square-if words were used the way Jesus used them? That is not an
easy question. We might be surprised.

We have asked Sinclair Ferguson, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church
of Columbia, South Carolina, to set the stage with an exposition of
James 3:1-12. This text is astonishing in the power it attributes to the
tongue: "No human being can tame the tongue" (James 3:8).

Paul Tripp, who teaches at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia and
counsels at the Christian Counseling and Education Foundation, has
written wisely in his book War of Words on the crucial place of the
heart in how we help or hurt each other with our words. "Out of the
abundance of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). We hope to
love people better with our mouths because of this message.

Daniel Taylor, who teaches English Literature at Bethel University in
St. Paul, Minnesota, is a lover of stories and has written about their
power in his book Tell Me a Story: The Life-Shaping Power of Our
Stories. This power is more pervasive than you may think and touches the
heart of the gospel.

Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, has agreed to
tackle the knotty issue of tough and tender words, words in controversy,
words in confrontation, words like Jesus and Paul used when they called
people vipers and said, "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be
accursed" (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Bob Kauflin, a worship pastor with Sovereign Grace Ministries, in
Gaithersburg, Maryland, just wrote the book Worship Matters: Leading
Others to Encounter the Greatness of God. He will help us explore what
happens to words when we put them with music and sing them. Why is the
Western world so filled with singing? Just turn the knob on your radio.
Hundreds of stations. And most of them are singing. What is this power?

The task I have set for myself is the question: "Is There Christian
Eloquence? Clear Words and the Wonder of the Cross." Paul said, "Christ
did not send me . . . with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of
Christ be emptied of its power" (1 Corinthians 1:17). Yet who can deny
the eloquence of Paul and others in the Bible? What is this? Should we
pursue it?

We will worship Christ together. We will think hard. We will pray. We
will meet people who are serious about their minds and their hearts and
their mouths. We will buy books. And I pray we will go home ready to
obey the words, "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt"
(Colossians 4:6).

I would love to see you there.

Pastor John,
Preaching & Vision,
with David Mathis,
Executive Pastoral Assistant

More info is available at Desiring God's Web site:

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