Friday, March 25, 2011

The Shepherds’ Conference – or – What I Did During My Spring Vacation

It was a great joy and blessing to get to travel to the Shepherds’ Conference at Grace Community Church two weeks ago. – I am so very grateful for God's providence through the generosity of His people – Especially you and you (& you know who you are!) There is no way I could have made this trip without your help!

I had intended on doing a bit of blogging each day I was there, but, wow! Did they keep us busy! From early Wednesday morning until late Friday night, the schedule was pretty well packed full.

I had been told that they really took good care of the pastors who attended the conference, and boy, were my sources right! They really gave us 5-star treatment the whole time. It was a hot week for early March, and there was cold water available at stations all around the Grace Community Church campus. They had breakfast available for us every morning and snacks between each session. And, everywhere, there were smiling faces. It was plain that they were very glad to have us all there. My thanks to the conference staff and volunteers who worked so hard and treated us so well!

There were a lot of seminar sessions available to attend. Here are the ones I went to:
Day One – Wednesday
General Session 1 - Phil Johnson
The Forgotten Field - Alex Montoya
General Session 2 - Tom Pennington
General Session 3 - John MacArthur
Day Two – Thursday
General Session 4 - Rick Holland
General Session 5 - John MacArthur
Exegesis and the Powerful Pulpit – Bill Barrick
Exposition and the Powerful Pulpit – Rick Holland
General Session 6 - Al Mohler
Day Three – Friday
General Session 7 - Nathan Busenitz
Delivery and the Powerful Pulpit – Alex Montoya
General Session 8 - Steve Lawson
General Session 9 - John MacArthur
Saturday, I had the pleasure of spending most of the day with Fred Butler. I was treated to breakfast at his home, and enjoyed spending time with his lovely wife and their children (to whom I am now known as "Mr. Squirrel".) After breakfast, Fred and I drove out to Semi Valley and toured the newly-renovated Reagan Library. Considering how much I admire Reagan, it was a very moving experience. Then, after lunch at Chick-fil-A, Fred gave me a short tour of the Grace to You offices.

Afterwards, we drove south to Bellflower, stopping in Van Nuys to pick up Tony Bartolucci (my roommate for the week), to attend James White's lecture on Conducting Debate to the Glory of God.

After a late-night nosh at Olive Garden, Tony and I drove Fred home and got back to our hotel after midnight -- and that was the night that the time changed! After a good, solid 4 hours of sleep, it was time to get up and go to church. Tony and I met up with Fred and his wife again, and attended GraceLife Fellowship, where Don Green preached on The Pastor, His Pulpit, and His People. In the main service that morning, John MacArthur preached on Paul's Philosophy of Ministry.

After church, Tony and I made the drive to Phoenix, where we met up with his family for dinner at Famous Dave's BBQ. After dinner, it was straight to bed - without setting an alarm clock!

Monday morning, after breakfast (at Chick-fil-A!), I was on the road home! I got home Tuesday night around 11pm. (And, no, I didn't sleep in my car. I got a motel room in Beaver, Utah.)

All I can say is that it was a fantastic trip! I heard some great preaching and teaching, made a lot of new friends, and got to eat at IN-N-OUT Burger twice and Chick-fil-A four times!

That's the big picture, anyway. I'll post a few stories from the trip soon.

(There are more pictures here.)

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