This past week I attended the Together for the Gospel conference with approximately 12,500 other men, women, and children (collectively). I will say that it did not disappoint. Every one of my top 10 listed reasons for being excited were met. I saw friends that I hadn’t seen in years and others that I hadn’t seen in a month.
We sang songs of old and new. My favorite coming away was “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted.” I’m told that we sang it at the previous T4G, but I don’t remember it. Perhaps I was more in tune (pun intended) with the song this time around that it struck a chord (I’ll stop) with me. As I looked for a link to share for this song, it appears that it was sung then.
The preaching was phenomenal. I would say that overall, this year’s sermons and/or talks were the best yet. In the past years, there was a theme that was advertised, but the sermons, it seemed, may or may not have connected. At very least it was hard to figure how they connected to the theme. This year, there was no doubt. Every single sermon/talk was about being distinct from the world. Over the next few Miscellaneous Mondays, I will be dealing with two or three speakers and giving an overview and my thoughts about them. Of course, like everyone else at the conference, I proclaim Ligon Duncan’s “The Whole in our Holiness” sermon was mind-blowing and, I would argue, simply the best sermon hands down of all sermons in T4G history. (Incidentally, the second greatest in its history was also by Ligon Duncan on Elijah: “The Underestimated God.”) The line coming out of T4G came from Duncan as he said, “It’s the dad-gum second commandment!” (referring to “love your neighbor as yourself.”) I will say that H. B. Charles, Jr. preached an amazing sermon on 1 Corinthians 1:18-25. I had preached that same passage on Resurrection Sunday, and after hearing him, I came away saying, “Now that’s how you preach that text!”
The fellowship that was experienced at T4G was unsurpassed. We talked, laughed, and reminisced about this conference and previous conferences. We talked on the way to Louisville and on the way back from Louisville about life and ministry and various topics that were not discussed from the speakers, but helped us to continue to grow in knowledge of each other.
Of course, there were the books. Many, many fine books. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond their control, the books were not in one central location, which made them somewhat hard to find. However, never underestimate a focused pastor on a book-hunting mission. “We have a very particular set of skills; we will look for you, we will find you, and we will buy you.”
Lord willing, those who went with our group will be making some short videos about our experience. Over the next few Monday’s I hope to recap sermons and thoughts on them. I would love your feed back, whether you went, watched live, or went back and watched the recordings. What did you think?