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  • Pastor Trevor Killip

Coram Deo Pastors Conference: Trip Back, Final Thoughts, and Books

The conference having concluded close to 1 PM on Thursday, and the bookstore remaining open until 130 PM, I made another lap around the bookstore. I wasn't looking for anything particular, but you never know. Viewing the different tables from various angles often reveals a hidden gem. However, for this lap this was not the case. Though the bookstore had sold over 7000 books during the conference, there was still plenty to buy for those who wanted. The loot of books that I obtained during this conference is at the end of this post below.

This photo doesn't do the bookstore justice, but it's the only one I took.

After exiting the bookstore I slowly, reluctantly, began my way back to the car. It wasn't that I didn't want to leave the conference, in fact, I was anxious to get back hom to my wife and children. I meandered because of the warmth of the sun. It was another warm beautiful day, which would make for a beautiful drive across the Appalachian Mountains.

On the way back I still had some hours left to listen to an audiobook so I began listening to Outlive: The Science & Art of Longevity by Dr. Peter Attia, and narrated by the author himself. I've been familiar with Dr. Attia for a while now, so the content of the book isn't surprising, but it is in depth and very useful. I was only able to get through chapter 10, which essentially sets the stage for the remaining chapters. My time for the month had run out and I wasn't willing to pay for extra hours. I ended up buying the book anyway, as it will be good to reference as needed from time to time. Besides, I only had about 8 hours left before I was home.

After stopping in London, KY, for a night, I was on my way home back to Wisconsin. I used the remaining time listening to music and reflecting on the conference. In between ballads of the 80s and 70s, musical hits from Les Miserables, and classics from Jackson Browne, The Beatles, Johnny Cash, and the like, I reflected on the conference and if it was really worth this long drive.

What I really appreciated about the conference was the specificity. I've been to other "pastors" conferences but often they are muddled or diluted with topics or workshops that aren't always aimed at or pertain to pastors. Sometimes the workshops or main sessions end up being a sales pitch of some method or product. This was not the case for this conference at all. Every thing done was geared toward pastors. Every thing, from the main sessions, to the bookstore, to the books they gave away, and even the various sponsors that were there. The music and time together always had in view who was there attending and where we all were going after the conference.

The messages were highly edifying as they were rooted in the Word of God and specific to the roles and lives of pastors. The charges brought forth to us from the speakers were both encouraging and challenging. Charges again, not rooted in some kind of pragmatism, or sentimentalism, or some fad, but in the Word of God. Yet, while the messages were great, the worship was just as great if not better. It's hard to say if the messages added to the worship, or if the worship by itself was great. Certainly, the singing was fantastic, but I do think the messages did aid in the singing by the convictions brought on by the truth delivered. Singing of God's grace seems to be more refreshing after hearing His Word well preached.

The singing experience made me consider the value of emphasizing congregational participation in singing on Sundays. There is something moving, something emotive, about a group of people, from all various backgrounds and various life experiences, all singing the same words, about and to the same God. Especially, when those words are words of truth, that speak to our condition, our need, and of the majesty and grace of God. This isn't some new revelation obviously, society at large knows the value of singing, and we often, outside of church, engage in congregational singing without a second thought. We'll gladly and boastfully sing our alma mater's fight song, or the national anthem, or God Bless America, or if you're at Fenway, people easily sing Sweet Caroline, without regard. It ought to be the same on Sunday mornings, and the church ought to do what it can to create an atmosphere where singing is not only encouraged, but is possible. Where the instruments are not the dominating sound, and where song selection focuses on singability and truth, rather than energy or popularity.

All in all, the conference was certainly worth the drive and the cost. The conference is expected again in 2026, and Lord willing, I'll plan to attend.


Books! Sometimes the only highlight of a conference are the books. Clearly, that wasn't the case for this one. Sometimes conferences don't even have books, if you can imagine that! Books are fantastic tools for believers to grow deeper in their faith and to be better equipped for the work of Christ. They often can provide what seminaries offer, at a fraction of the cost. Of course, with books, there's no dialogue, no conversation, which seminaries do offer. For this conference, not only was there a splendid bookstore, but they even gave away a few books!

Below is the loot acquired sorted in four categories. Books that were purchased for myself and the church's library, and then books that were given away that I will keep for my personal library and books that were given away that I will give to the church's library. Keep in mind, any book of my own library is available for you to read if you'd like to read it. Once the books for the church's library are in the system, I'll make sure to let the church know.

Books Purchased for My Library

  1. The Diary and Journal of David Brainerd, I found this gem lying on its lonesome, abandoned by someone else who evidently rejected it for one reason or another. As a fan of history, this book caught my attention, especially with the various details of a brother of Christ who lived long ago. The entries at first glance reveal a life wholly devoted to Christ with a view of life reflecting the reality of eternal blessedness. This will be a book I read bits and pieces at a time.

  2. The Pastors and Their Critics: A Guide to Coping with Criticism in the Ministry by Joel Beeke and Nick Thompson. It's no secret that ministry work is often the target of criticism, so any advice in this area is greatly appreciative, especially from seasoned pastors.

  3. Living in a Godly Marriage and Living Zealously, both by Joel Beeke and James La Belle. These books seem to be part of a series and contain study questions at the end of each chapter. I think these books may be useful for either personal use or small group use.

  4. Being There: How to Love Those Who are Hurting by Dave Furman. The subtitle describes what this book is about. This is also aimed at pastors and ministry leaders.

  5. Christ of the Consummation: The Testimony of the Four Gospels Vol. I by O. Palmer Robertson. This is a biblical theology book on the four gospels.

  6. The Family Worship Book: A Resource Book for Family Devotions by Terry L. Johnson. This appears to be a great family worship resource book. It has a few quick chapters on the how and why of family worship along with several samples and outlines to use and follow. It also has psalter in the back and a chart you can use to track the books and chapters that you have read with your family. I'm going to give it a go with our family and see how it works.

  7. Poetry of Redemption: An Illustrated Treasury of Good Friday and Easter Poems by Leland Ryken. This book pulls on poetry written through the ages that speak of Christ's glories. It also has some sweet illustrations from artists of old and short chapters providing background of the poems. I think I might read this to the children a night a week.

  8. Help! I'm Married to My Pastor: Encouragement for Ministry Wives and Those Who Love Them by Jani Orlund. This is not pictured above, and obviously, this one is for Laura.

Books Purchased for the Church's Library

  1. Answering Speech: The Life of Prayer as Response to God by Daniel J. Brendsel. This book deals with our prayer life. The author focuses on to help those who may be discouraged by their prayer life to revitalize it. He attempts to get the reader "to enter into an expansive and exuberant life of response to the Father through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit."

  2. Creeds, Confessions, & Catechisms: A Reader's Editions edited by Chad Van Dixhoorn. This is a book of historical creeds, confessions, and catechisms. This should make for a good reference book.

  3. For the Love of Discipline: When the Gospel Meets Tantrums and Time-Outs by Sara Wallace. This book is about discipling children. I think parents, especially mothers will appreciate this book, though your children may not.

  4. Teach Them to Work: Building a Postive Work Ethic in Our Children by Mary Beeke. This is another book for parents, especially mothers, that is aimed at helping to manage the household workload.

  5. Defeating Evil: How God Glorifies Himself in a Dark World by Scott Christensen. This book is the shorter version of Christensen's other book What about Evil? which I have recommended in the past. However, we don't have a copy of it in the library, and I was actually considering purchasing a copy until I saw this version. I think this version is more accessible and perhaps easier to understand than the bigger version, however, the bigger is certainly worth reading for those who are able and have the time to do so.

  6. Five Lives of Our Anti-Christian Age by Rosaria Butterfiled. In this book Rosaria deals with these five lies:

    1. Homosexuality is normal.

    2. Being a spiritual person is kinder than being a biblical person.

    3. Feminism is good for the world and the church.

    4. Transgenderism is normal.

    5. Modesty is an outdated burden that serves male dominance and hold women back.

Books Given for My Library

  1. Authority: How Godly Rule Protects the Vulnerable, Strenghtens Communities, and Promotes Human Flourishing by Jonathan Leeman. I almost bought this book last month at the EFCA Theology Conference where Leeman was a speaker. We were given a 50% off code for this book however, the code did not work, so I did not buy it, and yet, by God's providence, still got it. This might make for a good Table Talk book as well.

  2. Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods by Echard J. Schnabel. Not sure when or how I will read this one. It will certainly be a challenging read I think, in regard to being disciplined to get through it.

  3. Ask Pastor John: 750 Bible Answers to Life's Most Important Questions by Tony Reinke. These are questions asked to John Piper covering 750 different issues and topics of life. This one may end up in the library.

Books Give for the Church's Library

  1. The Truth About Lies: Why Jesus is More Relevant Than You Think by J. Mack Stiles. This book deals with ten lies:

    1. I don't matter to God.

    2. Being good is good enough.

    3. Jesus is an inspiration.

    4. I've got to look out for number one.

    5. I've got my truth, you've got yours.

    6. Death is the end.

    7. Everyone goes to heaven.

    8. I can't change.

    9. Walking in the truth.

  2. Christianity & Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen, 100th Anniversary Edition. I believe we already have a copy of this book, if we do, here's another copy, if not, we do now.

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