Without doubt, one of the most significant events of 2013 was my trip to Minneapolis to attend the 2013 Desiring God Pastor’s Conference.
During those eventful days, I remember writing to a friend that I did not know how God will use this experience, however, I felt that this would turn out to be a reference point that I’d look back on in the future. So here I am, 12 months on, reflecting on how God has impacted my life through that brief week.
- The support I felt from my fellow Elders as they sacrificially sent me away, half way around the world, for a three day conference is almost more than I can express. This was their gift to me, yet in the residual effect, it was their gift to the church.
- Dedicated time away, steeped in the truth of God’s Word, was a refreshing tonic to my soul. Though I returned to Australia physically tired, I was spiritually awakened and joyfully anticipating the ministry effort required from me in the months ahead.
- The concentrated volume of God honouring, Christ exulting, Spirit driven, bible teaching; filled my heart and mind to overflowing proportions. I will never tire of hearing gifted men powerfully and faithfully proclaiming the life giving text of the Word of God.
- The resounding sound of thousands of worshipers as they poured out their heart before our shared Saviour. Corporate worship was a surprising experience that I had not anticipated on having the effect it did.
- Lots of free, high quality books are always welcome!
- Sweet Christian fellowship with godly men who share my heart for the ministry of the Word.
- I had the privilege of meeting some amazing men who have given their entire lives to advancing the cause of Christ. Though only brief, I was happy to meet and spend some time speaking with John Piper, who has had a profound impact on my spiritual growth over the last 5 years or so.
- Due to flight timing, I also enjoyed the generous hospitality of the Desiring God staff in their office at Minneapolis during the day following the conference. I’m thankful for the faithful service of the men and women who serve the church worldwide. Particular thanks goes out to Tyler Kenny, Tony Reinke and Jon Bloom, humble brothers in Christ and powerful ministers of the Gospel.
I guess over the years to come, my list of reflections will grow and I will hopefully see to a larger extent how God used this one experience to shape in me the likeness of His Son. So, though I’d return to the conference year after year if it were possible, I also know that God is continuing His work of sanctification in my life apart from ‘big’ experiences like the one just described. The ministry of the Word and the Spirit continues day in and day out, through the ordinary and mundane, so that on a coming day I will be able to join Paul in saying, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8, ESV)
To the praise of His glory.