No, I don’t call myself a Calvinist or reformed, but I do believe in God’s grace and sovereignty and I desire to be gospel-centered.  And I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s ‘Together for the Gospel’ Conference.  This was my first T4G Conference and though I don’t know how it might compare to the others, I would highly recommend you add this to your schedule in April 2014.  There are many reasons, here are a few:

The PREACHING – Nine main sessions about the power of the gospel.  I don’t ever remember a time that my spirit was more stirred to preach and witness.  I appreciate the authority with which the messages were given, the humility of the messengers, the preeminence of the Scriptures (specifically the gospel) in every session.  Zealous.  Urgent. Authoritative. Never have I heard such content in such a short conference – every message deeply affected in me a hot passion to continue preach and to share the powerful gospel.  Here are my notes.

The MUSIC – Bob Kauflin led worship for 8k+ with his piano and voice.  He led us in true worship of spirit and truth.  What a joy to sing the old and new hymns – such rich doctrine, such beauty and poetry.  What a pleasure to listen to and sing in such a choir of men (and ladies).  Listen here.

The ZERO-DOLLAR BOOKSTORE – That’s right… $0.  T4G, Crossway, and Lifeway (and others I’m sure) sponsored a bookstore and vendor area where every registrant would receive ~20 books, CDs, pamphlets, etc. absolutely free.  This is not just an immediate blessing  but will continue to bless as I make time to dig into these resources.  Here’s the stack.  I also enjoyed browsing the other bookstore with such a wide variety of authors and topics.

The FRIENDSHIPS – I did not go to T4G alone.  I came with 3 close friends and left with many more.  Thanks to Michael, Brad, Dave, Jamie, Jon, Jared, and Tom.  Next time, I will be bringing more friends and making even more…

The PANEL DISCUSSIONS & BREAKOUTS – As I understand it, the format this year was very different than in the past.  I have no point of comparative reference, but suffice it to say that these were interesting.  Because they were so topically oriented and pointed, I must admit that some interested me much more than others – but the 1-2 that caught my attention were very interesting and facilitated even more questions / study / conversation.  I look forward to catching up on the ones I missed on the T4G website.

The TESTIMONIES – This year’s theme, Together for the Underestimated Gospel, was beautifully highlighted by ~8 testimonies of the power of the gospel.  This stirred each one of us as a testament to God’s might and the reach of the good news.

The LOCATION – Although this conference was located in my backyard (Louisville), I would definitely travel if it were necessary.  I met many people who did travel… from Canada, India, Cayman Is., and all over the USA.  The YUM! Center & the Kentucky International Convention Center were excellent venues.  (One caveat… the meal plan was a high for the quality of food – but still worth the convenience.)