Blogging will be a little different this week. I posted a substantive piece yesterday and will post a little mid-week humor tomorrow. Everything is off kilter because this is Together For the Gospel week. Like many of you I’m in Louisville for a wonderful week of learning, reconnecting, and being overwhelmed by the book store. Because my week is so busy, and many of you will be drinking from the same fire hose, I’ll be aiming for brevity on the blog for the next several days–a little humor, a few highlights, a little folding of the hands to rest.

But as T4G kicks off, I thought I’d remind myself (and you) of how to approach a big conference like this.

1. Be thankful. There should be a deep, pervasive sense of gratitude for a gathering like this. Thank God for the singing, for the resources, for the teaching, for the people serving you at the hotel and in the restaurants, for the people (you may never know or meet) who have worked and will be working tirelessly behind the scenes to make a massive event like this possible. Thank God for the freedom to gather in large numbers to learn and worship. Thank God for his work in recent years to stir up a passion for his glory, a hunger for good preaching, and a love for the particularities of the gospel.

2. Pray. I know the schedule is insane, but it would be a shame to go prayerless for three days at a gospel conference. Pray for the speakers and the organizers. Pray for your fellow pastors and pastors’ wives. Pray for the churches represented. Pray for safety. Pray for conviction of sin and the comfort of the gospel. Pray for the result of our gathering to be greater humility before God, greater fidelity to the Scriptures, greater integrity in our ministry, and greater harmony in our families. Pray for people to get saved. Pray for preachers to be renewed. Pray for churches to be revived, encouraged, and strengthened

3. Stand against the devil. Resist the many temptations that can fly into our hearts in a week like this: temptations to jealousy and envy, temptations to bitterness and despair, temptations to compare and criticize, temptations to be haughty and proud, temptations to impress instead of to serve. Be mindful of the accusations and deceptions of the Evil One. Our battle is not against flesh and blood.

4. Take something home. No doubt, you’ll be stuffed full of teaching, conversation, and free books by the end of the week. No one should go away empty. But it’s wise to be strategic with all you’ll receive. You may want to think in terms of the one thing(s) you will take home: one new song to share, one practical suggestion to implement, one new idea to ponder, one new friendship to cultivate, one new book you will definitely read, one sermon to revisit, one Louisville Slugger for each of your non-violent children. Make a point to make your take home stuff more manageable and more useful.