The conference planners were well aware of the needs of pastors when they selected Piper and Mahaney to speak in the last two sessions of T4G. We have been greatly inspired and challenged and humbled. We need to “be done with lesser things” and make ample room in our lives for the great priority of preaching the cross and living cross-centered lives. We need to nourish our souls and find strength for our calling. Piper’s and Mahaney’s sermons were just what I needed.
I urge you to look online for the (free) recordings of all the T4G messages, and listen in to what we have been hearing. But save these two for last. If you only listen to a couple, listen to these two.
Session #7 — John PIPER
I’ve been a Christian nearly 30 years, and this session was one of the most gripping and powerful sermons I have heard in person. The Spirit of God moved through John Piper as a mighty wind, bringing the written Word of God to us, and calling us to be brighter and saltier even radical Christian ministers. Speaking primarily from 4 texts in the last chapters of Hebrews (10-11-12-13), he described what creates a radical Christian ministry. We are to be persuaded of the much greater value of the Treasure (Christ), and desire to be with Him, and suffer with/for Him “outside the camp” (Heb. 13:12-13). I cannot begin to tell you more of this heart-piercing message. I can tell you that I prize Christ (my “Ticket” and my “Treasure”) more than ever before! I am willing to work harder, simplify my life, and to suffer more for His sake than ever before — so help me God.
Session #8 — C.J. MAHANEY
Speaking from Philippians 1:3-7, Mahaney prepared us for our “reentry” into the hustle and bustle (the “carousel”) of ministry life. He claimed most pastors (even here) do not serve in their ministry with joy, as Paul did. Are we constantly joyful? Learn from Paul, writing from prison, how to keep your soul joyful and minister the gospel. First, practice GRATEFULNESS to God. Be thankful, and do not murmur (which is really a great sin, questioning the ways of God). Second, gain CONFIDENCE in the FAITHFULNESS of God, and be faithful yourself. As Charles Bridges said, It is faith that enlivens our work with perpetual cheerfulness. Third, develop and keep AFFECTIONS for others (cf: Phil. 1:7-8).
I am not Mahaney, or Piper, and I am certainly not Paul. But I am called to preach the same gospel. As Spurgeon said when thinking of some great preachers,
[Such men] might preach the gospel better than I can, but they cannot preach a better gospel!
Take courage and joy, my heart. Thank God for this conference. Amen