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The Best TLF Yet?

April 28, 2009

I’ve had a little time to reflect on this year’s TLF. Here are 10 reasons why I think this year’s TLF was the best yet.

  1. Growing Relationships – This was my sixth TLF. One of the benefits of a fellowship over a conference is the focus on intentional friendship building. Each year I return to the TLF I have an opportunity to rekindle old TLF friendship and forge new ones.
  2. A Preaching Homecoming – The three sermons were superb. And more than that they bring back fond memories for me. Dr. Kelly was my seminary professor when I attended RTS, Charlotte. Ligon and Derek are dear friends from my days on staff at FPC, Jackson. I’ve probably heard more of these men’s sermons than any other preacher. Sitting in that room listening to them lay open the word of God was like coming home.
  3. Dr. Kelly’s Sermon in Particular – Dr. Kelly is an accomplished pastor, theologian, scholar, and author. But I have never heard him preach a more theological astute, biblically careful, and pastorally pointed sermon than he did on the opening evening of the TLF. If you haven’t heard it yet then download it, listen to it, and repeat.
  4. Talking about Culpeper Mission Church – Part of TLF is devoted to highlighting church plants all over the world. This was my first TLF to attend as a church planter. It was a privilege to speak to the fellowship as a whole and to individuals in person about what God is doing in Culpeper, Va.
  5. Fellowship Time – The fellowship doesn’t stop when the scheduled events are over. Both evenings of the fellowship I was able to spend quality time with godly men who love Jesus and the church. It was good for my soul.
  6. Recognizing the Diversity of Vanilla Ministry – Several of the men at TLF jokingly refer to their ministry as pure “vanilla”. That is to say, they are dedicated to the simple reading, singing, praying, and preaching of the Word of God and the observance of the sacraments. They lead innovation-lite, simple, means of grace, vanilla ministry. But at the same time there was overwhelming diversity in the ministries represented as pastors gathered at the TLF from multiple cities, countries, and ministry contexts. Truly the ordinary means of grace are extraordinary!
  7. The Seminars – This year’s seminars were some of the best presented so far. If you haven’t listened to them yet then you need to.
  8. Meal times – Apart from great food, the meal time conversations that I was able to participate in were excellent.
  9. The singing – 250 men singing to the praise of Jesus — at times without accompaniment — is something you just have to hear. Amazing.
  10. Free – Everything else aside, TLF is free. How many conference/fellowships can boast that? I jokingly say that TLF is free and that they reimburse your travel costs with free books.

These are just a few reasons why I enjoyed this year’s TLF. Of course you don’t have to take my word for it. You could just plan to attend next year. See you then.

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