Archive for the Clarus 09 Category


May 7

Clarus Aftermath

2009 | by Ron Giese | Category: Clarus 09

We have just finished our annual Clarus conference weekend, and as a staff are both catching our breath for a few days as well as assessing the conference. So many people both said and wrote encouraging words. As an example of one comment card, “Thanks for another great conference. I like the format and appreciate the speakers and music ministry emphasis. The teaching/preaching is very challenging.”

This year’s topic was “The Convergence of Doctrine and Delight.” The various talks addressed the relation between truth and passion. As an example, Dr. Ray Ortlund spoke on the topic of “True Spirituality: Delighting in Truth,” looking at the convergence of truth and delight in Psalm 1. He encouraged us, as does the Psalm, to meditate on God’s truth, and not just do a quick read for information.

And as another example, Dr. Sam Storms spoke on, “Delighting Ourselves in the Lord: Why Joy in God Matters,” from Psalm 37:4. Dr. Storms noted four ways that we can delight ourselves in God. One is through intellectual fascination and another is through aesthetic adoration.

We will soon have all the talks up on the website for listening or downloading, so if you missed any, please check the website in a week. Also, as Pastor Ryan mentioned at the conference, our staff is always glad to answer any questions that came up during the conference, or later, as you listen to the talks or read through any of our speakers’ books.

May 1

Clarus Weekend Is Now

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Clarus 09

I hope you’re planning on being with us tonight and tomorrow for some great singing, fellowship, and teaching/preaching in our Clarus weekend.

A few things to say before we begin tonight:

1. If you haven’t yet bought a ticket (or tickets), you can do so online here or in the church office, or you can buy them at the door when you come.

2. Please do come early. Doors will open at 5:45 PM. The singing begins at 6:15 PM (great songs, full band!). The first session with Dr. Ortlund begins at 6:30 PM.

3. I’m especially excited about the topics/titles for tonight’s two plenary sessions. They seem like such a fitting way to begin our weekend of exploring “The Convergence of Doctrine and Delight.”

  • First, Dr. Ortlund will give an exposition of Psalm 1 – “True Spirituality: Delighting in Truth”
  • Then, Dr. Storms will give us some insight into the historical example of “Jonathan Edwards and the¬†Religious Affections: The Soul Set on Fire for God.”
Praying that God would move powerfully and wonderfully in minds and hearts through the teaching of his Word this weekend. Looking forward to seeing you!

Apr 29

Meditation Is a Meeting of Mind and Heart

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Clarus 09,Quote

What is meditation, according to the Bible (Psa. 119:15, 27, 48, 78, 148)? Sam Storms, one of the speakers at this weekend’s Clarus conference, answers the question like this:

Meditation begins, but by no means ends, with thinking on Scripture. To meditate properly our souls must reflect upon what our minds have ingested and our hearts must rejoice in what our souls have grasped. We have truly meditated when we slowly read, prayerfully imbibe, and humbly rely upon what God has revealed to us in His Word‚ all of this, of course, in conscious dependence on the internal, energizing work of the Spirit.

Later, Dr. Storms distinguishes Christian meditation from New Age or Eastern meditation:

  1. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates emptying the mind, Christian meditation call for is to fill our mind with God and His truth.
  2. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates mental passivity, Christian meditation call on us to actively exert our mental energy.
  3. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates detachment from the world, Christian meditation call for attachment to God.
  4. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates visualization in order to create one’s own reality, Christian meditation call for visualization of the reality already created by God.
  5. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates metaphysical union with god, Christian meditation calls for spiritual communion with God.
  6. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates mystical transport as the goal of one’s efforts, Christian meditation calls for moral transformation as the goal of one’s efforts.
  7. Unlike Eastern meditation, which advocates an inner journey to find the center of one’s being, Christian meditation calls for an outward focus on the objective revelation of God in Scripture and creation.

Apr 24

Ray Ortlund, Jr. on The Gospel Coalition

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Clarus 09,Meditation,Quote

On his blog, Ray Ortlund, Jr. suggests that God may be doing something special these days, and The Gospel Coalition is one indication of that. After returning from the national conference, he wrote:

Clearly, the Lord is at work. He is creating new conditions for the future. In the 90s, we had nothing of the magnitude of The Gospel Coalition, Together For The Gospel, Acts 29 and other obvious indicators of a new movement of God. We did have, say, Promise Keepers, which helped many. But PK was not explicitly gospel-centered, not aggressively theological. Its impact was unsustainable. But now the Lord is giving us something new, something better. Let’s be thankful to him. This doesn’t come along every day. Let’s steward the blessing well. If we bungle this, I doubt we will see it again in our time. But if we are wise, not intruding our own self-centered complications but humbly keeping Christ first, the blessing will grow. And maybe, in the mercy of God, we will see awakening in our time.

I was privileged to be in a small meeting in Chicago this week where Ray said something very similar to this (and he said it with tears). I thought then, Ray is in such a unique position to make a comment like this: he has dozens of years of ministry experience in various ministries and denominations, and has been thinking about and praying for revival through it all. I certainly don’t have the length of experience or depth of thought that Ray has, but, for what it’s worth, this is absolutely consistent with what I’ve seen in just 13 years of being in the ministry. Things have indeed changed. There is a new inter-denominational cooperation in the gospel of the reformation and partnership in ministry and hope for revival that seems to be a special gift from the Lord.

Apr 15

What Is Revival? Ray Ortlund, Jr. Answers

2009 | by Ryan Kelly | Category: Clarus 09,Quote

In anticipation of our Clarus weekend, I’ve been rereading some sections of books by our speakers, Ray Ortlund, Jr. and Sam Storms. In When God Comes to Church: A Biblical Model for Revival Today, Dr. Ortlund says this (p. 9):

Revival is the season of the life of the church when God causes the normal ministry of the gospel to surge forward with extraordinary spiritual power. Revival is seasonal, not perennial. God causes it; we do not. It is the normal ministry of the gospel, not something eccentric or even different from what the church is always charged to do. What sets revival apart is simply that our usual efforts greatly accelerate in their spiritual effects. God hits the fast-forward button. And this blessing spills out from the church to wash over the nations with an ingathering of many new converts.

May it be so, Lord! And may it be now!