Thursday, January 31, 2008

Restoring Passion; Reducing Lostness

January '08 ended on a wonderful note. The Missouri Baptist Evangelism Conference was incredible. I believe that it was the best of the eight years that I've been attending.

I started my trip by visiting with my in-laws and preaching Sunday morning at their church. I told the story from 1 Kings of the Queen of Sheba's visit to King Solomon. I explained that just as the Queen came to check out everything that she had heard about Solomon, people today are checking out what they've heard about our King, Jesus. The Queen judged Solomon by his great wisdom and wealth, but also by the way that his servants and officers served him. It is a humbling thought that people will judge Jesus by the way that I serve Him and represent Him--but it is true. Maybe you have judged Him by the way that some "Christians" have acted in the past. It's sad, but true. It was true of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon and it's true of those that come to examine the claims of Jesus today. As Christians, we must be ever mindful that our Savior is being judged by the way that we act and treat those around us.

The folks at New Testament Baptist Church were very friendly. I enjoyed my visit with them and hope to visit them again sometime.

Monday morning was the beginning of the conference. The morning session is put on by the Fellowship of Missouri Baptists Evangelists and then the hired guns come in for the rest of the conference. Our state Director of Evangelism opened the session by welcoming everybody. We started with prayer and music lead by the music evangelists. Leading off in the preaching category was yours truly. It was a real honor to be asked to preach at the conference (a first for me) and preaching to a bunch of preachers that have way more education and experience is a bit intimidating. Of course nobody expects the leadoff man to hit one out of the park anyway--the heavy hitters were yet to come. I thought that the morning session went great (in spite of that first guy) and I received many words of encouragement. I was especially encouraged by my own pastor that made the trip for the morning session.

I skipped out of the afternoon session to visit with some good friends in St. Louis. Their 5 month old was having surgery and I thought that being with them was more important than sticking around for the conference. ( I bought the DVD's of the entire conference, anyway.) I could really sense their feelings of helplessness when little Jake was brought out of surgery. You want to take away all of their pain...and you can't. I had to smile at Jill's (mom) question. It was never a matter of "Can I hold him?" but "How do I hold him without hurting him?" Momma was going to hold her baby!

I made it back for the evening session and I think that it was THE BEST music and preaching that I have ever heard. WOW!!! I hope that all of the pastors, evangelist and lay leaders came away with the same energy and motivation that I did. If so...look out Missouri! We'll be telling His Story in the coming year!

Tuesday was an interesting day in the St. Louis area: a record high temp of 73F (23C) at around 1 pm, 22F (-5.5C) and snowing by 5 pm, and an overnight low of 14F (-10C)!

I'll have more from the conference in the coming days. For now, I'm getting ready for the first of three associational conferences on successive Sat/Sun/Mon/Tuesdays. The best part of these events is hanging out with the evangelists that are serving in full-time ministries. They offer so much in the way of encouragement. I'm kind of the new kid on the block and they have all been great at referring me to pastors and getting my name on these programs. They are my heroes!

Remember baby Jake in your prayers and ask God to smile on me as well.



Anonymous said...

About Google reader...yeah yeah. :)

Glad your conference went well!

Kevin said...

We recently received a flyer in the mail from a local start-up church. On the flyer was a picture of Jesus with a caption which stated, 'He didn't have all the answers and neither do we'. Hmmm.

But they felt he was a good teacher.

C.S. Lewis said it best when he wrote:

Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit on Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. but let us not come with any patronzing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.

Mike said...

Sorry I missed you John. Your conference was about 15 minutes from my house. I was going to just show up and suprise you. That plan didn't work. What day is today anyway?