Since the last blog post on Tuesday was too long, I had to leave out a major piece: I got to meet Matt Chandler.
Because I was with some pretty hardcore guys who wanted to see and do everything at TGC, we made sure we got excellent seats all week. So on Tuesday, we sat right behind the VIP section, a.k.a. all of the speakers. While sitting there in our seats, we saw Chandler sit down three rows in front of us. Unsure of what to do but sure we wanted a picture, we all nervously walked up to Chandler to ask for a picture. He was extremely nice and gracious as we asked him. “Oh yeah for sure.” He asked us our names, and we talked for a little bit. A tad nervous, because this man’s preaching has shaped my life and theology more than anything (Bible excluded, Moody student reading this), I quickly blurted out, “I just wanted to say that your sermons have inspired me.” He gave me a curious look, I realized what I said and thought Wow, Chris, that is one of the stupidest things you have said in a while. So then I rectified my stupidity by clarifying, “Rather, your ministry has shaped me greatly. Thank you.” He gave my shoulder a reassuring squeeze and we took the picture.
Josh blinked the first time and Chandler jokingly yelled at Josh, “You’re killin me Smalls!” Good to know he has a sense of humor!
Meeting him was great. He is a great guy and amazing preacher. It is nice to know, however, that he puts his pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us.
Onto Wednesday, I’ll try to keep this really brief. First we had James MacDonald, Pastor of Harvest here in the Chicagoland area. Titled When You Don’t Know What to Do, he preached on Psalm 25 and how there are some things that we need to lean on God for and others we need to learn them from Him. He ended by showing how Jesus embodies our trust, Jesus exemplifies our trust, and Jesus enables our trust. Great handling of the text, MacDonald used real stories that were raw and honest. Here is a link to his sermon (to download on Mac, right click and click “save link as”)
Brief word on the workshops. The first round, I went to a panel discussion. The second round, I went to another panel discussion. The third round, I stayed in the main stage area and watched Mark Driscoll present on The Spirit Filled Missional Ministry of Jesus. Driscoll did not do any thing revolutionary, he simply walked through Luke (and part of Acts) and showed the Holy Spirits involvement in Jesus’ ministry. He delivered a challenging sermon (it started as a lecture but morphed into a sermon as Driscoll got excited) on how often we ignore and quench the Holy Spirit. The key phrase was, “To be Spirit filled is to be like Jesus!” He wanted to clarify that to be Spirit filled does not mean that you speak in tongues or have someone hit you on the forehead and you fall down, rather we need to see being Spirit filled as being like Jesus. One of my favorite Driscoll one liners was, “Yeah I see people healed! Not all the time. That is why we called it a miracle instead of Wednesday!” It was an excellent sermon. (Here is a link to all of the breakout sessions. I heard that Chaney’s breakout session was stellar as well.)
After dinner we came back to hear Conrad Mbewe preach from Jeremiah 23:1-8 titled The Righteous Branch. Aptly called ‘Africa’s Spurgeon’ he did a fantastic job walking through Jeremiah and pointing out how Jesus is the righteous branch that Israel ultimately should have looked for. (Heavy on Covenant Theology, btw.) Here is a link.
The final sermon of the night was given by Matt Chandler. In my opinion, this sermon was the best of the coalition (but I am pretty biased). He came out of Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 and traced the imperatives in the passage which led to Christ. We should rejoice an remember our Creator. Essentially what he said was that there is a way to rejoice which gets under the surface level down to the Gospel. No one has a problem with rejoicing, but through the Gospel we can see how God redeems our rejoicing. There is a confidence in remembering our creator that redeems rejoicing. He concluded by saying that we need to believe the Gospel, constantly meditate on the Gospel, and marvel on the Gospel. It was an absolutely brilliant sermon. I would highly, highly recommend it. Here is a link.
The Gospel Coalition in Review: Tuesday