Christian conferences

Two recent posts by South African Christian bloggers have jumpstarted my thinking today. The first was a review on Thompson’s Two Cents earlier in the week regarding the Grace Ministers Conference. The second was Thomas Scarborough, a minister, thinker and commentator, who made an insightful observation regarding Christian conferences on his blog this morning. Thomas says,

Thomas Scarborough

Many years ago, I attended a world conference in the USA. I asked the president what the purpose of the conference was. I thought he’d say something about the conference programme. But he said something like this: “It is the Lord’s opportunity. He forges friendships that He will use in His Kingdom.” Since then, Christian conferences, for me, are not so much about the programme. Also, I now routinely plan time “next to” a conference or seminar — often not knowing what for — because that is likely to be God’s time more than the conference itself.

Is it fair to measure the success of a Christian conference using the following metrics: The Worship, The Speakers, The Fellowship and The Venue; and if so what should the weighting for each be?

Is it true that the connections made at conferences often outlast the impact of the content? Is this a problem or should it be like this by design?


Stuart Townend TGIF (A Notice to all Worshipers in the Gauteng Area)

Hi Worship Leaders and Worshipers,

In one of my favourite passages of Scripture Jesus exhorts,

23 …the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” (Jn 4:23)

Want to hear the verse in context? John 4
What is this about?

This Friday there is an opportunity to hear from a man renown for worship leading, Stuart Townend, as he speaks on the “The “Art” of Worship: Adoration, Revelation and Transformation.” I’m going this Friday morning, crack of dawn, to Hyde Park Shopping Centre. Want to join me? 06:15am for 06:30am and ending 7:30am.




Stuart Townend is known around the world as one of the leading worship songwriters of his generation, and is appreciated for his depth of lyrical and theological content in songs such as “In Christ alone”, “How deep the Father’s love”, “The power of the cross” and “Beautiful Saviour”. His songs bridge different musical and cultural genres and reach into every corner of the globe.

Stuart is also a gifted worship leader, musician, recording artist and seminar speaker, and spends a good part of his year leading worship at major Christian events, doing solo concerts, recording studio albums, and training emerging worship leaders and songwriters. He has featured on numerous live worship albums and solo albums over the years.

N.B. Arrive early to secure your seat! For more opportunities to connect with Stuart this week, see


Hyde Park, Jan Smuts Avenue, Hyde Park Corner, Hyde Park, 2196


1. Head west toward Western Bypass/N1 (78 m)

2. Merge onto Western Bypass/N1 (4,1 km)

3. Take exit 95-Sandton to merge onto William Nicol Dr/R511 (2,4 km)

4. Slight left to stay on William Nicol Dr/R511 (5,1 km)

5. Slight right at William Nicol Dr/M75 (3,2 km)

6. Turn left at 6th Rd (110 m)

Spirit and Truth

Last Sunday’s sermon, based on Psalm 119, was that our response to the Word of God should be exultation and praise. You can listen to it by clicking here or using the control below: (Inline audio player not working? Download the file here.)
169 Tav. Let my cry come before You, O LORD;
Give me understanding according to Your word.
170 Let my supplication come before You;
Deliver me according to Your word.
171 Let my lips utter praise,
For You teach me Your statutes.
172 Let my tongue sing of Your word,
For all Your commandments are righteousness.
173 Let Your hand be ready to help me,
For I have chosen Your precepts.
174 I long for Your salvation,
O LORD, And Your law is my delight.
175 Let my soul live that it may praise You,
And let Your ordinances help me.
176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments.

Want to hear the verse in context? Psalms 107 – 121
What is this about?

If you’ve never listened to them before or haven’t heard of them there’re two preachers I’d like to introduce you to who’ve preached on this topic, John Piper and John MacArthur. If you’re into great exegesis and very cerebral type sermons then John MacArthur is for you. You can download his sermons from

John Piper is actually a bit different from me Theologically but he has a great delivery style and is very acurate on what matters, The Gospel! You can download his sermons from

Try these sermons for a start:

John Macarthur
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 1 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 2 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 3 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 4 (Selected Scriptures)
The Kind of Worship God Desires, Part 5 (Selected Scriptures)

John Piper
All of Life as Worship (Romans 12:1 – 2)

John Fullerton MacArthur

John Fullerton MacArthur, Jr. (born June 19, 1939 in Los Angeles, California) is a United States evangelical writer and minister, noted for his radio program entitled Grace to You. MacArthur is a fifth-generation pastor, a popular author and conference speaker, and has served as the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California since 1969, and as the President of The Master’s College (and the related The Master’s Seminary) in Santa Clarita, California.

Theologically, MacArthur is a conservative Baptist, a strong proponent of expository preaching, a dispensationalist and a self-described Calvinist. He has been acknowledged by Christianity Today as one of the most influential preachers of his time, and is a frequent guest on Larry King Live as representative of an evangelical Christian perspective.

MacArthur has authored or edited more than 150 books, most notably the MacArthur Study Bible, which has sold more than 1 million copies and received a Gold Medallion Book Award. Other best-selling books include his MacArthur New Testament Commentary Series (more than 1 million copies), Twelve Ordinary Men, (more than 500,000 copies), and the children’s book A Faith to Grow On, which garnered an ECPA Christian Book Award.

REZOLUTION Weekend Conference John Piper Pretoria South Africa Antioch Bible Church Grace Fellowship

John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He grew up in Greenville, South Carolina, and studied at Wheaton College, where he first sensed God’s call to enter the ministry. He went on to earn degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary (B.D.) and the University of Munich (D.theol.). For six years he taught Biblical Studies at Bethel College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and in 1980 accepted the call to serve as pastor at Bethlehem. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at John and his wife, Noel, have four sons, one daughter, and an increasing number of grandchildren.

Built for a purpose

surfing The Pipe Port Elizabeth with a Great White Shark

Click image to link to source.

As a kid I spent a great deal of time in the ocean swimming, sailing, snorkelling and surfing. Once, surfing about 50 meters out to sea, near a spot called The Pipe in Port Elizabeth, I looked up at the shoreline and saw my dad standing on the bonnet of the car frantically waving his arms, signalling to me.

Simultaneously I became aware that I was alone; all the other surfers had paddled out of the water and were standing on the beach, waving their arms, beckoning me to swim in.

An ice cold chill shivered its way up my spine and a paralysing sense of fear welled up inside of me. As adrenalin pumped through my body one word exploded in my mind, “SHARK!”

Listen to some of the features that fuelled my panic:

  • Great whites grow to an average of 4.6 meters in length, though specimens exceeding 6 meters and weighing up to 2,3 tons have been recorded.
  • Great whites can detect one drop of blood in 100 litres of water and can sense even tiny amounts of blood in the water up to 5 kilometres away.
  • Great whites mouths are lined with up to 300 serrated, triangular teeth arranged in several rows.
  • Great whites have organs that can sense the tiny electromagnetic fields generated by theor prey.
  • And then perhaps most importantly to me at the time was I thought a great white was between me and the shoreline.

Well I got out of there as fast as I could. My friends later described my hasty emergence from the sea as if I had “walked on the very water itself.”

The great white shark is built for a purpose and it’s not to look pretty, whistle a tune or blend into the environment, it’s to kill. It is a ferocious killing, eating, slaughtering machine. One purpose, one function, one goal.

You and I friends are built for a purpose too, a singular function. God has put us humans together in such a way that we need to worship. Furthermore He requires us to worship, He created us to worship, He desires us to worship and ultimately those who worship Him on earth will worship Him eternally in heaven.

We’re built to worship the Lord.

In heaven this celestial tune rises up day and night,


Want to hear the verse in context? Revelation 4
What is this about?

The gaint fin gliding through the water turned out to be a Whale Shark. Maybe, for integrities sake, I should point out that I’m using the word surfing as a synonym for body boarding.