The Power of Words and the Wonder of God- A Look Back at the 2008 DG Conference

September 29, 2008

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.” -James 3.9

This past weekend I had the blessing of being in Minneapolis, MN for the 2008 version of John Piper’s Desiring God National Conference. This years topic was The Power of Words and the Wonder of God and included as speakers John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Sinclair Ferguson, and Paul David Tripp. There was also musical worship and a couple of Panel Discussions, alongside massive Christian fellowship, which all added up to a supremely joyous three days.

On a personal note, by an act of providence, though I was traveling by myself, I wound up encountering a couple of guys from my hometown that I had served in church with and was able to spend a great deal of time over the weekend with them. I was also able to meet up with several other Christians, particularly some who roam around in the blogosphere.

The message shared in the conference itself was fantastic. All of the speakers really challenged us on how we use words in our life, if we are using them in effect to focus people on the Gospel or if our use of words is more likely to lead people to sin. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson looked at how difficult mastering the tongue is through the passage in James 3, giving the illustration that what comes out the mouth reveals what’s inside the heart. Bob Kauflin of Sovereign Grace Ministries shared how music can biblically accentuate our words. Mark Driscoll addressed using hard words and sometimes controversial words. Paul Tripp explored the use of words and how no words are neutral, they either give life or give death. And Pastor Piper closed it all up with a look at how words can be used in a biblically eloquent way and practically what doing this may accomplish.

To me, the biggest takeaway that I got was my need to work on being less harsh in the words I use, something which appears more in my day-to-day vocal interactions with people around me than it does here on the net, and so I want to be more conscious of that.

I have composed a review of Mark Driscoll’s message which should be available shortly as a guest write-in on the Ignite UK Pastor’s Blog. As well, all of the conference messages are available in various media formats at the Desiring God website.

I would highly recommend trying to attend a Desiring God conference in the future. I know that in listening to past conferences I had become aware of how impactful they could be and the experience of being there certainly did not disappoint. The title of next years conference is With Calvin in the Theater of God, which I’m sure will have an all-star lineup of speakers. Check it out if you can.

(UPDATE: Here is the link to the review posted on the Ignite UK Pastor’s Blog.)