As a first-timer at a national GARBC conference, I have been trying to take it all in. The worship is more traditional than contemporary although some newer songs from people like Gettys and some older "newer" songs from Twila Paris and others. From what my children have relayed to me, the children's and teen programs tend to be a little more contemporary in nature. I will say all the musical worship has been very respectful and God-centered. They're using a combination of piano/keyboard for accompaniment. The staging is simple but tasteful with decent sound and accent lighting.
Sorry to those looking for Twitter updates this morning. We're having some difficulty connecting to the hotel WiFi but hope to be up and running tonight. I'll relay some of my notes from the morning session with Dr. Dan Davey. I agree with Aaron that Dan is an excellent communicator and expositor of the Scripture. I have always enjoyed and benefited from his ministry.
After a significant introduction and overview of the book of Daniel (which Aaron summarized in his post), Dr. Davey launched into chapter two:
- In the first 13 verses of chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar is troubled by recurring dreams.
- Chapter 1 speaks of a 3-year time period, while chapter 2:1 says it was the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. How can we reconcile this? Wood suggests that chapter 2 takes place during chapter 1. Couple reasons for this likelihood--In 2:1, Nebuchadnezzar calls all the magicians, etc., and Daniel is not named—so he must still be in training. Also, a break in thought seems to take place in v. 20 from vv. 17-19.
- Nebuchadnezzar commands that both the dream and the interpretation be told him by the elitist Chaldeans, with dire consequences for failure. They fail, and are slaughtered. Nebuchadnezzar then seeks out Daniel and friends. Daniel asks for time and is granted time (amazingly, or rather providentially).
- Here (v. 18) is the first of 5 usages in chapter 2 of “God in Heaven.” Daniel seeks God’s mercy. He doesn't want to die. Very few teens do! God reveals the secret to Daniel. Results in praise to God.
- Daniel stands before Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 27, Daniel says Nebuchadnezzar's "cabinet of incompetence" can’t interpret the dream, but that there is a God in Heaven who will reveal the end times. Daniel speaks of the image (which Nebuchadnezzar will later build). Verse 35 signifies a supernatural work (cutting of rock w/o hands) which comes to the feet of the image with blinding speed. It strikes the image and crushes it. Notice in v. 44-45 the antecedent to the “it”. The stone broke the image not just at the toes (like some suggest) so that the image fell down and shattered. Rather, the language would demand that the stone totally obliterated the image. The stone then grows and fills the whole earth.
- Interpretation is that Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold. 4 kingdoms follow in the description of the image all the way to the toes. After the image's destruction, God will set up a kingdom that will not be destroyed. Verses 46-49, Nebuchadnezzar responds.
- Preaching always involved exegesis (science), explanation (art), and effect (mystery). The effect from Daniel 2 is: (1) God is not a detached God. There is a change of the wind—the empires reflect God’s transfer of power. (2) God is moving all of history to a very defined purpose. In history God should be acknowledged and proclaimed. (3) Chapter 2 is not about information for the reader; it is about a God who can taken a teenager and befuddle a head of gold…who will allow Gentile pagans to celebrate in their lascivious way with the cups of the temple and then simply speaks and loosens the joints of the king…who will care for his servant In a den of lions…who allows teenagers to stand before a 90 ft image and say “Our God is able.”
Davey continued to emphasize strongly the theme of the conference and the book of Daniel: "Our God Reigns!"
Following the general session, I attended a workshop led by Scott Greening on the Quest Network. Quest is an initiative of the GARBC to encourage, network, and mentor younger leaders in the Fellowship. The workshop was mostly an orientation with some Q&A. Scott challenged the attendees (room full to overflowing) to get involved in the local/state fellowships as well as at the national level. Challenged us to write for the Quest blog as well as for Regular Baptist Press. Interesting. I remarked to my associate Jon Kirby afterward that there seem to be a number of organizations nationally who are competing for the attention of the younger generation. The T4G organization publishes a Cooperation Map. The Gospel Coalition has started "The City." And here is the GARBC with their version. Evidently, this is an important demographic to all. The challenge as a pastor is to determine (1) how much time I can/should invest in parachurch groups or pastor fellowships and (2) what is the goal of such fellowship? Good problem to muse on. Looking forward to Daniel 4 tonight. (I missed Daniel 3 this afternoon.)