Carson: Making Sense of Suffering

Last month I told you about the D. A. Carson conference at Omaha Bible Church on the topic of suffering. The audio is now online:

  1. Making Sense of Suffering – Part 1
  2. Making Sense of Suffering – Part 2
  3. Making Sense of Suffering – Part 3
  4. Making Sense of Suffering – Part 4 (Gospel Reflections on Trials and Tribulations)

HT: E-Ray through JT

Weekend in Omaha

tss-road-trip.jpgIt’s been slow around TSS because this weekend the family and I returned to Omaha for my sister’s wedding. It was a great time back in Nebraska and it happened to coincide with the Red Sox winning the pennant and the Don Whitney conference at OBC. Sadly, there was no time to take in the conference Saturday, however, it was a great surprise on Saturday morning to run into some OBC-ers and Dr. Whitney at a local Starbucks. We were blessed to hear Whitney preach at OBC on Sunday morning. I’m told the weekend conference went well and you can get the audio here.

The outdoor wedding on Saturday was great. Weddings always provide an opportunity to catch up with family and friends we’ve not seen in a long time. As you can see below, our wedding gifts are usually printed and bound. It was an honor to give Tim and Amy a copy of Dave Harvey’s newest book on marriage, When Sinners Say ‘I Do’: Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage (Shepherd Press: 2007). No doubt, one of the top books this year and perhaps the best book on marriage in print. If you don’t have it, I highly recommend it! (And it makes for a great wedding gift, too.)

Well, it’s good to be back in MN. And congratulations, Tim and Amy!

Don Whitney conference in Omaha

Attention friends and readers in the beautiful city of Omaha, NE. Coming up on Saturday, October 20th, Omaha Bible Church will be hosting author and professor Dr. Don Whitney. The one-day conference is titled Sharpening Your Spiritual Focus and the cost is $15 per individual and $25 per family. For more details click here.

Pastors are invited to Whitney’s evening session, Disaster Proofing Your Ministry. Click here for more.

I spent the first seven years of my Christian life at OBC and benefited greatly from the excellent speakers that were brought through. Past speakers include Don Carson, John MacArthur and Kris Lundgaard. If you’re in the area, be sure to check out the Whitney conference. It will be a good one. And bring your friends, too!

Shepherding a church to Calvinism

It’s exciting to see so many popular leaders taking a strong and clear stand on the doctrines of grace, also known under the title of ‘Calvinism.’ Many of you see the biblical accuracy of these doctrines but have a congregation requiring some convincing. Here are some resources you may find beneficial.

A book that may help. The Doctrines of Grace: Rediscovering the Evangelical Gospel by James Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken (Crossway, 2002) does an excellent job in clearly explaining each of the TULIP doctrines. But it goes further by explaining why churches and culture NEED the doctrines of grace. It is an excellent book in showing the connection between these doctrines and how their demise brings theological liberalism in its place. The Calvinist’s life is one of humble service to the betterment of culture, they argue. It is a well-balanced book of doctrine and practice showing that Calvinism is not only biblically accurate but that the needs of the church and society require it, too.

Book #2. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Loraine Boettner is a classic. I love the straightforwardness of it — biblically deep and simple. Answers objections thoroughly.

Sermons that may help. And on the same note, I would recommend you pay attention to how one pastor is leading his congregation into the doctrines of grace. This Sunday Ethan Burmeister, pastor of Core Community Church in Omaha, NE (Acts 29) began an expositional study through Ephesians. This series is very significant in the life of the church. If you are about to attempt this transition, you will find his context and approach beneficial. The audio versions of these sermons can be heard through their website here.

The best church in Omaha, Nebraska

Frequently I am asked to recommend churches in Omaha, NE. And for some reason these questions typically come from people who are simply not going to church at all. So first let me first exhort you on the importance of the local church.

The local church is God’s plan for the message of the Gospel to go forth into culture and its the place God has chosen for the growth of Christians. There is no way around the importance of the local church (read Ephesians 4:11-16). A faithful local church protects Christians, equips Christians and grows Christians together as the body of Christ. Any search for a local church must begin by understanding the importance of the local church. There are no substitutes.

On to the church I recommend in Omaha:

Omaha Bible Church, a place my wife and I served for over seven years. They are a church centered around the expositional preaching of the Bible with an emphasis on the New Testament and especially the Pauline texts. The preaching style is very similar to expositor John MacArthur. I doubt any preacher in Omaha more clearly defines the biblical gospel than Sr. pastor, Patrick Abendroth. They have a well developed children’s ministry and nursery. Services are held on Sunday morning and evening and there are a number of activities throughout the week. Authors are frequently invited to speak (D.A. Carson, James White, John MacArthur, etc). Affiliations: The Master’s Seminary and John MacArthur. If you like the style and content of MacArthur you will like Omaha Bible Church.