May 29, 2012 by
Nail My Glory (from Looked Upon)
Let Your Kingdom Come (from Valley of Vision)
Our Song from Age to Age (from From Age to Age)
Shine into Our Night (from The Gathering)
Bob shared: Someone came up to me earlier in the conference and told me they thought they had a prophetic word for a certain group of people here, so I’d like to share it with you all:
“There are those here who are disappointed. We’ve had an incredible three days, but you are disappointed in something, maybe friendship, church, lack of marriage, or even in this conference itself. Whatever it is, you have put your hope in it and it is disappointing you and distracting you. God says come, taste and see that He is good and fully satisfying. In Him you lack no good thing.”
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing." Psalm 34:8-10
Bob then sang a prophetic song in response to the word that was shared:
Am I not enough for you? Is what I’ve done not enough for you? What are you seeking besides Me?
Don’t you think I can fill your heart? Does it seem painful and very hard, To give up the things that fade away, For the One who loved you for all time, For the One who died to make you Mine?
There is nothing that this world can give you, That’s better than My love for you, And I would have you turn your eyes on Me, From all that can never satisfy
For your heart was made for Me, Your life was made to be, A reflection of My glory and grace
So come and drink your fill, Come and know My will, Come and be still before your God, And know that though you search for all your life, That you are never going to find a love like Mine
“I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.” As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.” Psalm 16:2-3
My Redeemer’s Love (from From Age to Age)
My Hope Is Built
After worship, C.J. took time to thank everyone for coming:
The only appropriate way to end the conference is to thank you all again for coming to this conference. Thank you for your attentiveness and responsiveness to the preached Word.
Announcement from C.J. about future conferences:
Please pray for me and all who will be involved in deciding the future of conferences for Sovereign Grace Ministries. The future is unclear, but here’s what’s clear to me: I love pastors. And I want to serve pastors. I’m fiercely committed to pastors. And I love you and your generation and I’m fiercely committed to you and want to serve you.
Though this is the very last NEXT conference, it’s not the very last conference. And we need wisdom. Please pray for wisdom. I have the privilege of serving on a board of godly, humble men (the Sovereign Grace Board) and in a few weeks I will be meeting with them to talk about how we will proceed into the future in regards to conferences. And though I can’t make any commitments to you publicly now, I would suggest you keep these dates open on your calendar.
C.J. took time to thank specific people who served at NEXT:
Brittany Kauflin – lyrics, typed up the recaps of the sessions
Darryl Wenger – headed up the audio and visual for the sessions
Bob and Margie Merryman – head ushers
Mindy Gasca and Karen Ballinger – ran the bookstore
Larry and Nora Earles – served in numerous ways, never stop serving.
Angela Borghi – took the bulk of administration responsibility for this conference
Paul Medler – had the responsibility of running the conference
* Honored Bob and Marge Merryman, Larry and Nora Earles, and Darryl Wenger who have all served at every New Attitude/Na/Next conference.
Nathan reviewed: Trusting God by Jerry Bridges: “Last night, during the conversation between Matt and C.J., we reflected on the fact that we need to prepare theologically for suffering. There are a lot of doctrines that sustain Christians through suffering. One of those key doctrines is the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Now, a lot of my suffering is self-inflicted (my sin and stupid choices), but I rejoice that even that self-inflicted suffering is under the sovereignty of God. If you have any questions about God’s sovereignty, you need to read this book. Jerry will straighten you out.”
Jared Mellinger introduced C.J.:
It’s not only on Ian’s and my heart to thank God for the gift C.J. is to us, I believe it’s on the heart of all of you all to thank God for C.J. One of the things we have benefited most from is C.J.’s love for the gospel. He is a gospel man. I have an early memory of sitting in a main session at Celebration and hearing him preach on Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and the effect that that message had on my love for Jesus. Another memory: I have a distinct memory of picking C.J. up from the hotel room driving him to a location 5 minutes away, and during that 5 minute car ride he shared the gospel with me. I came away from that conversation freshly amazed—I could not believe that Christ would die for me. C.J. is a man who not only speaks Christ and him crucified publically (in sermons), but privately as well (in conversation).
He also loves the local church. C.J. has spent his life loving the church and instilling in others a love for the church. I can’t tell you how excited we are, C.J., that you are planting a local church in Louisville this year.
Lastly, he is a man who has a heart for the next generation. He is pouring his energies into the next generation. Investing in guys like me, Ian, Kevin, and Matt. There are thousands who have been influenced and who love Christ more because of Him.
MESSAGE | C.J. MAHANEY | Church and Disappointment: When Expectations Collide with Reality
When Carolyn and I went on our honeymoon I had high expectations, but, due to various unfortunate circumstances and events (Carolyn got sick, our accommodations were a bit more rustic than they appeared in the brochure, it poured down rain the entire time, we had our first conflict) my expectations quickly collided with some harsh realities.
This would be a common experience of someone in the church as well.
Unrealistic expectations always result in disappointment because they always collide with the harsh realities of real life, trials, and sin. The question is not if you’ll be disappointed with the church, it’s when you’ll be disappointed with the church and how you’ll respond.
You are very vulnerable at this moment to returning from this conference to your local church with high expectations, potentially unrealistic expectations, and I want to prepare you for that return and protect you from the collision between expectations and real life.
What should you do when you encounter the inevitable disappointment that comes from unrealistic expectations about the local church?
"Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain." Philippians 2:12-16
Context of this passage:
Verses 5-11 form a hymn of praise celebrating the humility and death and exaltation of Jesus Christ. One commentator said, “Because of the splendor of the preceding passage, it’s easy to forget its aim that comes into view in verse 12.” There’s a purpose of all that’s revealed in verses 5-11. This hymn is to be applied to real life.
1. Remember the sovereign activity of God.
"For it is God who works in you." v. 13
The God who initially converted you is presently sustaining you and will bring His work to completion in you. His purpose for you cannot be frustrated.
This fact is also true for your church, if it is a Gospel-preaching church. God is effectually and ceaselessly at work in your church.
We should all return to our local churches more aware of how God is at work in our local churches than we are of its deficiencies.
Listen—if Paul can identify evidences of God’s grace at work in the Corinthian church, we can do it for our church.
Don’t think that discernment is being able to find deficiencies in your church. That doesn’t require discernment. It takes discernment to point out where God is at work in your church.
So how do you find these evidences? Consider the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, and look for them in your church.
Your pastors sermons are much more important than any message you’ve heard at this conference. When you hear a sermon from one of these guys, it’s a “Best of” sermon. They’re not delivering similar sermons like these every Sunday.
Don’t compare the preaching. Don’t return to your church and think “What’s up with my guy?” Your guy has a much harder job, it’s much more difficult to preach to the same people every week. You should have a deeper appreciation for your pastor and the hard work he’s invested.
Don’t compare the fellowship. It’s easy to care for one another when we’re together the entire time at a conference for 4 days. But when you return home you won’t be together all the time. You need to return home with realistic expectations. Your pastor and CG leader aren’t omniscient. If you want their care, you need to inform them of your need. You’re going to return home to people who will sin against you. And if you don’t devote yourself to identifying evidences of grace you will be more aware of deficiencies in your church.
Can you list and rehearse evidences of grace of your church as quickly as you can list areas of deficiency? Which list is more readily on your heart and mind?
God is most aware of the countless ways He’s at work in your church than He is aware of the deficiencies in your church.
God takes notice of and tenderly cherishes the smallest measures of grace in the hearts of His people. – Christopher Love
Do you take notice of the smallest measures of grace in the hearts of God’s people? Or do you tend to take notice of the smallest measures of sin and deficiency?
2. Avoid the temptation to complain
"Do all things without grumbling and complaining." v. 14
All of church life should be transformed by the Gospel.
We can’t be sure about what the Philippians were grumbling about, but we can be sure of the danger of grumbling and the adverse effect it has on the unity of the church.
That voice in your head that keeps rehearsing the disappointments and flaws of your church is not from the Lord. It is the Accuser. - Jared Wilson
Grumbling about your church is a common temptation. Complaining is the common language of the human race. When we’re disappointed we tend to grumble. And the opportunities for grumbling are endless: sermons, music, leadership, administration.
Grumblers express disagreement in unbiblical ways.
Tony Payne once told a story:
The five-word antidote to grumbling: A well-known English preacher was approached by a complaining congregation member. He replied to the complaint with five words: “It’s not about you, stupid,” and walked away.
…That was a stunningly rude response, but it exactly expresses what is wrong with grumbling in the church: it is idiocy to think that the church is about me! The church is about God and Christ and loving other people!
There is to be a distinct difference between the church and the world. We are to express gratefulness that edifies, protects, and builds the unity of the church and, most importantly pleases and glorifies God for the marvelous work He has done in the church.
3. Hold fast to the Word of Life
"Holding fast to the Word of life." v. 16
Why hold fast? Because it is only the Gospel that can fully address our disappointment. It puts our lives and disappointments into perspective.
[The early church in Acts] wasn’t all romance and righteousness. - John Stott
What do we do when we are aware of disappointments and failures in our church? We hold fast the Gospel.
Hold fast means to hold firmly, maintain a grasp on something. Preach the gospel to yourself each and every day. I would argue there is no more important activity for your soul each day than preaching the gospel to yourself.
We are to be a proclaiming church, not a complaining church.
The church is to have a unique sound of the gratefulness of men and women who have been humbled by the Gospel. They are aware that they richly deserve God’s full, furious, righteous wrath for the sins they have committed, but that God, in His mercy, sent His Son and crushed Him for the punishment they deserve.
The Christian is someone who is increasingly aware that they are doing so much better than they deserve. This Gospel category transcends and transforms those disappointment categories.
When we hold the gospel fast and firm…why do we grumble, complain, argue, and attack? It’s a complete contradiction! The Gospel should leave us repulsed by grumbling and quick to confess it when we are convicted.
The flawless Son’s sacrifice on the cross for our sins leaves us humbled and grateful. When we do not hold fast to the Gospel we become self-righteous, self-satisfied people. Unbelievers should be offended by the Gospel, but they shouldn’t be offended by our obnoxiousness.
I’ve never met someone who is holding fast to the Gospel who is a chronic complainer.
Here’s the effect of all of this:
"Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel." Philippians 1:27
May God produce those kind of churches.
Now Why This Fear (from The Gathering)
Jesus, all my trust is in Your blood
Jesus, You’ve rescued us through Your great love
CJ closed the conference:
Here’s how you can tell what you’re holding fast to. You hold fast to whatever you’re most passionate about. I was in a conversation recently where I was passionate about the topic, but I realized my passion for the subject was disproportionate to the subject because it wasn’t the Gospel.
If you’re not most passionate about the Gospel, I would encourage you to restrict your spiritual diet to the Gospel. Pastors, we get the opportunity to help our people rehearse the Gospel this Sunday!
On Christ the solid Rock I stand
All other ground is sinking sand
All other ground is sinking sand