O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples.
2 Corinthians 10:16
Paul wrote: We may proclaim the good news in lands beyond you.
The above very brief video is from the LCMS Mega-Church Conference opening worship service at Salem Lutheran Church.
Diane and I are at the LCMS Mega-Church Conference in downtown Houston this week, and it has been an edifying and refreshing experience for us. This conference gathers pastors and wives from the largest LCMS churches throughout the USA. We are thankful to be part of that group.
High on the list of encouraging experiences was the opening worship service, held at Salem Lutheran Church (our neighbor up the road from us at St. John). The pastors and people of Salem went out of their way to welcome us, having their school students greet us with welcome signs, high-fives, cheerleaders, and smiles as we arrived on their campus. Three things stand out in my mind that are worth noting:
- Pastor Doug Dommer made the point that “Praise isn’t praise unless it is expressed.” The whole service was a wonderful time of praise, and a celebration of God’s love. From their beautiful organ to their praise band, to their troupe of liturgical dancers, to the message by Pastor Tim Niekirk, God’s name was praised. We expressed his glory powerfully.
- We were prayed for in a very touching (literally) and affirming manner. We were invited to come to the altar rail, kneel for prayer, and had people surround us and lay their hands on us. Those people included prayer partners from Salem, as well as a number of members of St. John who joined us for the service. Both Diane and I are deeply touched and very grateful to God for his love through those special people.
- The theme of the conference is “Be Loved” (or “Beloved” – depending on how you read it). We were made to feel loved and honored in a special manner. That, of course, is the reason we praise God: we are loved by him. And we love because he first loved us.
Having experienced this love, it is my desire to express that love to others to the ends of the earth. This Good News message is one that I greatly enjoy sharing each Sunday at St. John. I have had the privilege of sharing this Good News in Russia, Kenya, and China. It is my hope to share it also with our new next door neighbors, the people in our subdivision, those around the corner from St. John, in downtown Houston, and places where I am given the opportunity to express my praise to God and express his love for all.