Monday the 31st of January I attended a conference put on by the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womenhood at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The experience was fantastic. The day started with a couple of worship songs “Here I am to Worship” by Tim Hughes, and “In Christ Alone” by Stuart Townsend and Keith Getty (popularized by Newsboys). Hearing 400+ men and 50 or so women in a small room (Rm. 208) sing their hearts out to God was incredibly powerful. Goose-bump inspiring. There is something about people openly singing to God’s glory that really moves me.

The first presenter of the day was Dr. Wayne Grudem. I spent the summer of ’03 reading his Systematic Theology, so I had become familiar with his style and brillance as a theologian. Dr. Grudem’s presentation was “Manhood and Womanhood in Creation and Marriage”. He spent quite a bit of time in Genesis examining men and women and how God created us. Some key thoughts from his presentation are: 1) The idea that we (men and women) are different by design is one of the key issues of our day. 2) Men and Women are equal in value and dignity. 3) Men and women have different roles in marriage as part of the created order. 4) The need for men to provide positive leadership, provision, love and protection to their marriage and family. 5) Some common Egalitarian objections and his answer to those objections. Dr. Grudem’s presentation was rock solid, well thought out, well presented. Everything I expected from him. Academic yet understandable.

The second presenter was someone who I had not previously heard of, C.J. Mahaney. I think Mahaney stole the show, though that is just my opinion. Mahaney started the Sovereign Grace Ministry and was a senior pastor for 27 years. Mahaney’s presentation was on “A Pastoral Call to Faithfulness.” There were tidbits throughout his message that were solid gold. Beginning to end he was hilarious, while being very Bible based and very serious. He has a fabulous presentation style, and I only hope to someday have half of his ability. His message had two main parts, personal application and pastoral application (with about 70% being on pastoral application). Some tidbits I picked up: 1) We need to clarify, cultivate and celebrate the proper values. 2) Godly character, careful scholarship, and courage. 3) Our teaching is only as effective as our demonstration. 4) Ideas for cultivation of growth as a husband. 5) Practices employed by Covenant Life Church to develop husbands, fathers, wives, and mothers. 6) The need for accountability groups because we can never truely assess ourselves. We have blindspots. 7) Preaching tip: consider is there any way I can reveal to the church my weakness in this message? Perhaps how I have been challenged in the past or in prep for the message in this area of my life. By doing this, we humble ourselves and it gives people hope and something to identify with, and cultivates trust. 8) Personal insight is usually the product of community.

Sovereign Grace Churches are somewhat unique in that the are both charismatic and reformed in their doctrine/theology. I find this combination quite attractive. As does my fiancee. I have never attended one of their churches, but I have added it to my list of churches to visit.

I did also buy two new books at the conference. The first being Dr. Grudem’s newest book “Evangelical and Feminism & Biblical Truth.” The second book I purchased was written by Carolyn Mahaney “Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother.” I may or may not read the second before I give it to my fiancee.

The past couple of days I have been quite sick. I left work Tuesday night feeling fine, and on the way home I developed a cough. I dismissed this a being the particulate in the air, as we were having a stretch of very dirty air days in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Metro area. By the time I woke up on Wednesday morning I was miserable. Coughing and tasting blood, intense body aches, pressure in head, runny nose, phlegm (yellowish), fever etc. I spent the day primarily sleeping. Today (Thursday) I woke up still feeling ill, but not nearly as bad as yesterday. I slept really rotton last night though. I have felt progressively better throughout today, though I still didn’t feel good enough to go to work tonight. I figured my possibly being infectious, coughing frequently, and having poor sense of balance because of this illness as being a bad combination for the food service industry. I really could use the cash, but I’ll make due. I am supposed to spend the evening with my fiancee tomorrow night, and then work all day on Saturday, so I am really hoping for another significant improvement over night.