This past weekend I had the privilege of participating in the 2010 Desiring God National Conference in Minneapolis, MN. The theme for this year’s conference was:
“Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.”
The speakers this year ranged from…
R. Albert Mohler, Jr.
to John Piper (who sponsors the conference each year).
Simultaneous to the conference was also the release of John’s latest book entitled “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God.”
I thought you would appreciate hearing just one paragraph from the introduction to his new book, that also set the stage for the entire conference this past weekend. John writes (bold and underlining mine)…
“This book is a plea to embrace serious thinking as a means of loving God and people. It is a plea to reject either-or thinking when it comes to…
head and heart,
thinking and feeling,
reason and faith,
theology and doxology,
mental labor and the ministry of love.
It is a plea to see thinking as a necessary, God-ordained means of knowing God. Thinking is one of the important ways that we put the fuel of knowledge on the fires of worship and service to the world.”
What I loved so much about this conference was that humility and love for your brother permeated every message and every conversation. It was wonderful to be in an environment where “thinking” and “thinking hard” was emphasized, but marinated in love for God and love for our neighbor.
As the Apostle Paul said so clearly in 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 (which was also one of the key texts for the entire conference),
“Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that ‘all of us possess knowledge.’ This ‘knowledge’ puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, he is known by God.”
I thought over the next couple of weeks I would share with you a few “nuggets” that I came away with from this amazing three day event. By the way, in case you are interested in watching on video or listening in audio to any of the plenary sessions, you can watch / listen / download them for free here.
Here are a few quotes and thoughts that I found helpful and insightful…
“God is in charge of keeping people humble, not us.” (John Piper)
“There is not a thing in you or me that inclined God to choose you for himself. It is totally free. Our theology is meant to flatten us so that no one would boast in the presence of God. ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.’ (2 Corinthians 10:17) It’s about smashing human pride and getting glory for God and God alone.” (John Piper)
During one of the Q & A sessions, the question was brought up, “How can we get the people within our congregation to really ‘think’ about God and the gospel?” Here are two of the comments that were made in response to that question:
Here was what John Piper said in response to getting people to read (I’m paraphrasing),
“A lot of people think that I must be this amazing scholar and prolific reader – the kind of reader that can devour a book in a few hours. First of all, I do not consider myself a scholar – by any stretch of the imagination. I also am a very slow reader. I can only read as fast I can talk. Most people are surprised to know that I am actually a very slow reader.” (John Piper)
“One thing is clear: Knowledge that is loveless is not true knowledge. It’s imaginary knowledge, no matter how factual it is. “ (1 Corinthians 8:1-3) (John Piper)
“Loving God means that God is our supreme treasure and pleasure. We prefer above all else to know him and see him and be with him and be like him.” (John Piper)
“My greatest desire for this conference is that you will embrace serious thinking as a way of loving God and people – that through the awakening and sharpening of your thinking, you will love God and love people more deeply and more fully and more unshakable.” (John Piper)
“To that end may the cross of Christ – the deepest, highest, clearest revelation of God in history – be the focus of your thinking. There is no other place where you can see him more clearly or love him dearly. The cross is the place where your thinking will be most deeply purified and the worth of God will be most fully magnified.” (John Piper)
“The fullest expression of Christian living has to be a combination of God’s truth entering the head, igniting the heart, and outworking through the hands.” (Thabiti Anyabwile)