I love this pic of the Santa Monica Pier. It’s a place where I’ve been over the last three years during Shepherd’s Conference. I have flown down and spent time with pastor brothers on the pier the first two years and last year Bonita and I made the trip together. Fellowship over shrimp and seafood at Bubba Gump’s was a highlight. Last year we went on the Ferris Wheel and saw an amazing view from the top. It kinda cool to see a couple of TV shows these days that use the Santa Monica Pier in their story lines. But the real reason we have gone to L.A. was for Shep Con at Grace Community Church where John MacArthur leads the flock. He just celebrated 46 years as their pastor-teacher.
I have been to t4g and Gospel Coalition and Sovereign Grace conferences and they were all good but this one is the grandaddy of them all! Networking, free books, good food, and rock star preachers of the reformed movement: Mark Dever, R.C. Sproul, Kevin DeYoung, Al Mohler, Steve Lawson and John MacArthur himself to name a few who were there this year.
This is my first year listening to sermons in front of the computer or on my iPod at the Y. It has been food for my soul. I had a hard time connecting to get the live stream when the conference was on but there are a few places that you can see and hear the messages on-line. I will put a link at the bottom to one sermon.
I have listened to three of the messages so far. John MacArthur had an opening address of why ‘The Inerrancy Conference’ and he walked through a lot of the wrong turns that has taken place in Christianity over the years. Mark Dever had a solid word from Psalm 119 and took the fifteen minutes to read the whole text during his sermon but at the fifty minute mark he got to the gospel. As I was explaining it to my wife tears came to my eyes for two reasons: about the graciousness of Jesus in the gospel but also the many Jesus-less pep talks that are given on Sunday mornings.
I also heard Kevin DeYoung preach a very convicting message entitled ‘Do Not Love The World’. While he was preaching he referenced this text:
 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.  Therefore do not become partners with them;  for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light  (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true),  and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.  Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. (Ephesians 5:5-12 ESV)
Our Spirit rejects the things of this world but our flesh craves to do and hear about sin and there can be a pull in the wrong direction. He mentions listening to his radio and hearing an announcement that said ‘late breaking news….about the Kardashians. His first thought was ‘really…that’s late breaking news?’ But his second thought was ‘I wonder what it is?’ He nailed the temptation for all of us.
Again, I missed being there last week but am so grateful to have access to such gospel-centred, Jesus exalting teaching. With so much questionable preaching out there today please make a point of enjoying at least one of the messages from Shepherd’s Conference. It’ll be good for your head and your heart.