Thursday, July 10, 2008

Doug's Trip to the Founder's Conference

My recent trip to the Founders Conference was a wonderful time of worship and instruction for me. The entire week was also an experience in the fellowship of the saints. Such fellowship always gives me a better understanding and deeper appreciation for heaven and the abode of that everlasting throng which is, even now, gathered around the throne of God.

Men such as Fred Malone, Phil Newton, Joe Nesom, Tom Ascol, Bill Ascol, Don Whitney, and Mark Dever have built and invested time and teaching into my life. I have learned more about Jesus, the Bible, the church, marriage, parenting, and spiritual disciplines because these men have lived than I could have ever known apart from their witness.

The man pictured in this picture is one of my heroes whom I greatly admire, cherish, and love. Dr. Tom Nettles is a gift to the church of Jesus Christ and particularly to Southern Baptists. His books have instructed many, but his life has encouraged me personally. The time I have spent with him over many years are memories which I hold dear to my heart.

I can vividly remember a sermon he preached 14 years ago from Galatians 1:1-6. It was one of the finest sermons I've ever heard. His teaching at one of the youth camps I attended over ten years ago on heaven and how the Lord Jesus Christ will one day explain all of life to us and reveal to us plainly his providential dealings in our days have encouraged me in dark days. He has read Scripture to me, prayed with me, loved me, written letters to me, laughed with me, and served me in so many ways.

All evangelicals are in his debt.

We are now all getting a bit older. The death of Dr. Bush earlier this year brought home to me the reality that soon so many of these great men like Dr. Nettles will soon depart this life. I pray the Lord will give them many more years, but I am aware that soon their labors here shall be done.

One of the things that keeps me up at night is who will step up and attend to the leadership posts filled by men like Tom Nettles. Perhaps it will be men like Jeff Robinson (who is pictured with me in this portrait), Nathan Finn, or Andy Davis.

I will never forget the time I spent with Dr. Nettles this year, and I continue to pray that God would use this man for His own glory.

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