Thursday, January 03, 2008

UM Congress on Evangelism Has Started

UM Congress on Evangelism Has Started

The first night of the UM Congress on Evangelism is over. I really appreciated the music this evening - given that it is the 300th anniversary of Charles Wesley's birth and we are in the city that he and his brother John made their homebase when they visited the US, it seemed appropriate to find that the music focused on the lyrics and tunes that Charles finally gave to the church. The point was made by Bishop Mike Watson that, inspite of the difficulties that the Wesleys had in America, God did use their time here to make them very aware that they were missing something - and when they found it, they found their hearts, and their worlds, and ours, strangly warmed. I also found it of interest because my plans for the lenten season. Isn't God grand.

The speaker for the Opening Worship was Bishop James Swanson. A dynamic and inspiring speaker he shared much of his testamony during his message. Converted after hearing the very simple message that Jesus loved him. That morning on the way home from church, he ask his mother about what it meant and they stopped on a corner and prayed. He clearly made the point that it was because of that day, that he was able to stand in front of us this day.

Loosely based on Acts 1, Bishop Swanson's message noted that we miss what scripture has to say because we are too often more concerned about what it means to us (I.E. me), than what it means to God. As a preacher, I can turn that around slightly and say I can become too concerned about what it says to my people, rather than what it means to God. (Ouch!)

Bishop Swanson spoke how sad it was that the disciples still did not get it. The resurrection had occurred, and they were asking if God would restore the Kingdon. They had spent three years living with Jesus, they had spent three years observing Jesus, they had spent three years listening to all He had to say - and they did not get it. And Jesus makes it clear that would not get it until they had received power (Acts 1:8). If we want to be Jesus' witnesses, it must start with receiving power.

Tomorrow will be the first full day of the congress - I have chosen to attend Bishop James Swanson's workshop on "Preaching for Conversion" and Joe D. Connelly's workshop on "Living by Kingdom Principles - Moving from Career to Calling". God will bless for sure.

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