From Monday night, January 30, to noon February 1, between two and three hundred pastors will be worshipping, praying, listening, thinking and discussing here at Bethlehem. The theme this year is The Primacy of Expository Preaching: Priorities and Pitfalls.
The keynote speaker on that topic is Professor Don Carson from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Don says that preaching is his “first passion,” which is a remarkable thing for one of America’s leading Biblical research scholars to say. I am thankful that he is coming to share his passion—and rekindle ours.
My friend John Armstrong is going to speak from the vantage point of one who spent about two decades in the pastoral ministry, preaching to the same congregation during most of that time. Now he has an itinerant work called Reformation and Revival Ministries. I asked John to speak out of his biblically-interpreted experience and from what he sees as he travels among churches today. His title is, You Have a Solemn Charge: Preach the Word. You can order his excellent Journal (Reformation and Revival), along with good tape resources, from 152 Yuma Lane, Carol Stream, IL 60188.
Doug Nichols is largely responsible for Bethlehem’s involvement in Rwanda. He is International Director of ACTION International Ministries which focuses heavily on the staggering needs of millions of street children around the world. I have never met the likes of Doug Nichols—a combination of Reformed theology and relentless zeal, putting it into action for the most destitute. I expect to be unsettled by Doug. He is risky to be around. I have asked Doug to bring the Conference to a climax by exhorting us to put it all into practice for the great kingdom purposes of God’s world.
I will be giving a message entitled, Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity. What a man Spurgeon was! Just reading him in these recent months has filled me with a zeal to know the energizing power of God more fully in my life the way he seemed to know it and the way Paul knew it when he said, “I labor, striving according to his power which he mightily works within me” (Colossians 1:29).
Would you pray for us—the speakers and the participants? They come from as far away as Maine and California. One will be here from England. Pray that God would renew us and strengthen our hands for the work he has called us to do. Pray that hundreds of churches would be mightily blessed by the fresh joy and biblical vision their pastors receive.
Please look at the notice for the Conference on the front page of this Star. Check with Jon Bloom if you would like to help in any way. Pray for him. The burden is great in these days. Save up for the book store! Thanks for all your support.