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July 8, 2014, 9:46 AM

Reflections on SBC Annual Meeting 2014 (Part 2):

I heard 12 sermons on the overall topic of "Show Us Your Glory." Here are the top messages that have stayed with me:
 
1)Ronnie Floyd's sermon from Exodus 32-33. Main point: before you go down the mountain to dwell with the people and attempt to lead the people forward, you must go up the mountain unto the Lord and into His presence.
 
2)James McDonald's sermon from Isaiah 64:1 'Oh, that You would rend the heaven's! That You would come down! That the mountains might shake at Your presence.' (You'd do well to get the CD). He actually defined what 'oh' means! It's a passionate plea. It's a not polite request. It's asking God to tear the heavens and come down. He related that the mountains are like the condition of most of our churches today. But, what are the mountains in comparison to God?! They quake at His coming! Main point (for me): we absolutely must have God's presence manifested in our lives and churches. God's presence is the solution, not our plans, methods, resources, etc.
 
3)Francis Chan's addendum to his sermon. At the end of his sermon, Francis Chan looked like he had finished what he had planned to say. He went to stand behind the podium, but didn't leave. A number of quiet seconds passed by. He appeared to be deciding whether to say what was on his heart or just stop where he had planned to stop. He related that something was on his heart, and he didn't want it to sound judgmental or mean spirited. He related that he wasn't sensing the response from us that he thought he should be seeing. He said that he felt the same way when he preached two years ago at the SBC pastor's conference. He mused on why this would be the case and at one point stated, "perhaps you are too used to your routines and structures."  That last statement is what stood out to me. Are we so used to and committed to our routines and structures that we fail at seeking God's presence in a deeper way?
 
4)John Meador preached to pastors on the topic of leadership, particularly in the area of evangelism. It was pointed and needed. He even gave an invitation to the pastors to come forward and be prayed over. It was a very moving moment.
 
5)Tom Elliff shared on Sunday afternoon at the WMU meeting. He stated that lostness often disguises itself in the familiar.
 
6)H. B. Charles Jr speaking in regards to the church said that we are not tourists on a tour bus who just happen to be headed in the same direction. Rather we are bound together in gospel partnership.
 
7)Dr. J. D. Greer related how a turning point came in his congregation when he looked at Acts 8 and asked is there much joy in our city because of our church and when he looked at Acts 9 (where Dorcas died) and asked would anyone weep in our community if our church ceased to exist? Tremendous questions on whether our congregations are impacting our communities.
 
Lastly, let me relate a small incident that was greatly meaningful to me. On our Thursday tour of D.C., we finally were at the Lincoln memorial stop. Angie and I had been looking forward to seeing it and were excited about it. I noticed when we came back to the bus to leave that the tour guide was sitting on a bench, with an umbrella over her head for comfort and was reading a book. She had seen the Lincoln memorial and the Vietnam memorial and all the other sites. She wasn't excited about it any longer. She was caught up in lesser things. How many of us who have been Christians and ministers for so long have become just like that tour guide? God's Word, prayer, worship, sharing the gospel and yes God himself shouldn't be taken for granted. Getting caught up anew in God's presence and in the things of God would tremendously affect our lives, our churches and our communities. Blessings to you,
Parson Jay

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