Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday Report From SBC/ Indy

Today has been filled with lots of activity. There is the usual excellent preaching and stirring music, but it has also been a day to browse through the LifeWay store, and explore the exhibits in the exhibition hall. Seeing old friends is also a wonderful part of the Pastor’s Conference experience – and we sure did visit with lots of old friends today.

The worship time and preaching began about 8:30 this morning and concluded twelve hours later. The preaching was powerful and challenging and there is just something special about over 5,000 people lifting their voices in praise! Registration stood at over 5,000 this morning, and there will be many more messengers enrolled by noon tomorrow. Today I heard something that is very rare in these pastor’s conferences. Some guy several rows behind me was shouting during the worship time. I’m talking about shouting like I used to hear in those old fashioned revivals in little country churches, as the Spirit fell on the saints in the congregation. It’s not unusual to see people with their hands raised in praise, but this guy was really having church – and it felt pretty good to hear that kind of praise again. Shame on us, for letting the charismatics steal our Baptist shout!

One of the highlights of the afternoon was when Pastor’s Conference President, Michael Catt, introduced Tony Dungy, head coach of the local Indianapolis Colts, the 2007 Super Bowl Champions. Dungy is a devout Christian with a powerful testimony of his faith in Christ, which he gladly shared with the thousands gathered in the convention hall. He is really a class act and a great Christian role model in the NFL.

The morning started off nicely as I ran into Chuck Stewart and Jimmy Nichols, two pastor friends from Ashland, who were accompanied by their wives. I also had opportunity to visit with Stan Williams of Cannonsburg and my old buddy Joed Rice of Central Baptist in Ashland. One of Paul Schmidt’s young ladies from First Baptist of Inez, KY helped Jay register at the credentials windows. Floyd and Penny Paris of Unity Baptist were enjoying a meal in the concession area when we found them.

Several friends from West Virginia were also on hand. I saw Danny Jividen having his blood pressure taken in the GuideStone health screening area. I got to visit with Dan Biser and Ken Owens and was pleased to get to talk to Terrell Bradley (the former pastor of Highlawn Baptist in Huntington). One of my most pleasant surprises was to visit with Ron McCoy, the pastor of Cameron Baptist Church in the Northern Panhandle of WV. Ron has been in a two year battle with cancer and I thank God that Ron has returned to his pulpit and was able to come to the convention. It was also great to talk with Jenny Hughes – formerly of Huntington, now of Princeton, WV. Jenny and her late husband Tommy were dear friends of ours who were a source of inspiration during Tom’s battle with an inoperable brain tumor. Jenny is now serving on the LifeWay Board of Trustees. Darrell Clark tells me that he and Paul Harris ran into Seth Polk of Cross Lanes Baptist Church and Jacob Atchley, our WV Director of Evangelism and Student Ministries. I’m sure I will see them before the convention is over – as well as Terry and Cheryl Harper, whom I am sure are here. We also saw Don Mathis – a former staff person in the West Virginia State Office and now a full time evangelist from Bowling Green, KY.

There was Asa Greear, our former Director of Missions in Ashland, who is now serving as a DOM in St. Augustine, FL – showing off photos of his brand new granddaughter. Bobby Wood, who just returned from our Philippine mission trip was working in the Executive Committee exhibit. Bobby and Jay are featured prominently in an Unlimited Partnership video, which will be shown to the entire convention tomorrow evening. We had opportunity to visit with a number of friends, faculty and administration people at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary exhibit, where I picked up our tickets for Wednesday’s “Friends of the Seminary” luncheon. Also had opportunity to wave to one of my “heroes”, Joe McKeever, Director of Missions from the Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans. I also had opportunity to visit with a few of my fellow NOBTS Trustees, including Don Currence of Missouri, and Marvin Rose, from Baytown, Texas.

Jay and I were joined for dinner by Darrell Clark, Paul Harris (church planters from Wayne and Barboursville, WV, respectively); Bobby Wood; and Shannon and Dee Dee Davis from Oxford, MS. Shannon and Dee Dee are about to become parents. They will be adopting a little girl who is due to be born August 2nd, and they are justifiably exited about the prospects.

The Convention LifeWay store was a beehive of activity. I bought a great book on Baptism that Stan Williams recommended, and found the “plan of salvation” bracelets that I think are a great witnessing tool. I happily bought several of them to replace the worn out one I have been wearing since October. The big bargain of the day was having the opportunity to purchase 20 boxes of Christian themed Christmas cards at 90% OFF REGULAR PRICE!

Tomorrow the actual business of the Convention begins in earnest. I am also looking forward to a luncheon for Upward partners. Should be an interesting day…

More to come.

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