Monday, June 24, 2013

Nazarene General Assembly - Day 5

Sunday was the traditional celebration of holy communion during the morning worship service.  Jesse Middendorf preached the promise of Pentecost and told the moving story of when he lost his 5 year old son in an overcrowded amusement park on the 4th of July.  His family and park security looked for little Jim for 3 hours.  Finally, when they found him, they discovered that Jim had been blissfully skipping to the front of the lines and riding every ride in the park.
This story drives home three truths into our lives.
1) At no point did Jess say to his wife, "Well, we have 2 out of the 3 kids we came with, that's pretty good.  Let's just go home."  Every single child of God is immensely important.
2) Some people are out there riding all the rides of life, and they don't even know that they are lost.  But God still loves them and desperately longs for their restoration to his family.

(By the way, as much as I love celebrating communion, and as much as I understand the difficulties of serving 20,000 people at one time, I still think there has to be a better way than what Paul Basset calls "McCommunion."  Even if it takes more time and makes more mess and costs more money, I would still rather find a way to have real bread and real cups.)

Sunday afternoon, Stan Toler shared a variety of encouragements about life in ministry.  He told about how a "church bully" once told him that he didn't have any business preaching or teaching because he was too young.  He stayed up all night and almost quit.  But he felt that God had called him and he couldn't quit.  The next day, when he was just 17 years old, he preached his heart out at a country church, and the people of the church told them God had spoken to them that he was to be the pastor of that church.
The overwhelming message from Stan was to persevere in the good work.  Continue on in the work to which God has called you.
In the midst of all this day - as a few small comments, some news, some great preaching, and a lot of hugs converged - I began to sense what may be the voice of God clarifying some of my future calling.  It's too early to go into details, but I offer that teaser as evidence that God is at work in General Assembly.
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