25 June 2009

EMA 2009

Today I went to my first EMA. It was quite good. The four talks were:

1) Psalm 86 - David Jackman
I've not really enjoyed David Jackman's preaching (I'm sure this says more about me than him) - on the few times I've heard him, it has been too easy for me to tune out because it is just so dull and not punchy. So I was pleasantly surprised by this session - it skipped along at quite a place (unfortunately all intoned in a very measured way). According to David Jackman, the pivoting verse of the Psalm is v11 "...give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." He talked about how suffering will throw into sharp relief the divided nature of our hearts. I found this talk helpful and heart warming.

2) Prayer and Mission - Don Carson
This was a Don Carson special. I really enjoyed it: 5 points contrasting different types of praying:
  1. Sustained prayer verses brief prayer
  2. Desperate prayer verses steady prayer
  3. Private prayer verses public prayer
  4. Corporate covenant renewal prayer verses special request prayer
  5. Unacceptable prayer verses acceptable prayer
He illustrated each type of prayer from different bits of the bible. It was stretching and challenging. I love to hear stuff on prayer because I'm so bad at it. He finished with "Much praying is not done because we don't plan to pray" which I think he writes about in A Call To Spiritual Reformation.

3) Don Carson interview by Richard Cunningham
At first I thought this may be a rehash of other interviews about Carson's parents, but in fact it ranged much wider. It was fascinating stuff. They discussed Carson's parents, Carson's ministry and various controversies among other things. I really enjoyed it.

4) Promoting the Gospel in the Local Church - John Dickson
Dickson talked about different ways of getting the gospel out: evangelists, evangelistic worship and everyone giving an answer. It is always good to be motivated to get the gospel out (and I really need a kick up the backside) but left me a bit unmoved.

Reflections on EMA?
Well, culturally it seems quite different to me... London, Anglican, plummey accents, very measured - though Carson and Dickson are obviously not from that set. It was fun going, but if Carson hadn't been there, it would have been really very dull. It was great bumping into some people from my past: Simon Dyke and Matt Fuller.

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