Monday at the Pastors’ Conference has been a day I’ll not soon forget. Terri and I got up knowing that I would have to deliver the message right after lunch. Before lunch, Tom Elliff brought a word from God on forgiveness, and his 92-year-old father with him. The message was based on Tom’s book The Red Feather, which everyone should read who has struggled with forgiveness or being forgiven. The room, filled with thousands of preachers, was as still and quiet as I have ever seen in all the years I’ve been attending the convention. I had the privilege of sitting by Tom’s dad, J. T. Elliff. It was a moment ordained by God. Hundreds of men came to the altar asking for or needing forgiveness. It was a moment I’ll not soon forget.
After lunch, I was the first of three preachers: me, Fred Luter, and Mike Huckabee. I’m glad I was first because there’s no way I would want to try to follow either one of those men. After hearing them, I’m afraid the crowd would have dwindled down to me, Jesus, and my wife. God helped me with the message, and I’m praying it will be used by God in many lives.
Before lunch, I had a chance to visit with Francis Chan, an author and pastor from California who has built a remarkable church. He made the church in Acts come alive and reminded me how far we have to go in the American church to be a New Testament church. Fred Luter, as always, preached with power and passion. He rocked the house and got folks’ attention with his ability to build a sermon to a great crescendo.
Terri and I got to spend time with Mike Huckabee before he spoke. The man is the real deal, genuine and authentic. I wish he was our president. His message on government and the family being the basis of all government wasn’t political, it was immersed in spiritual truth.
I have enjoyed the music of First Baptist North Mobile under the leadership of Jason Breland. Having preached three times in that church, they always bless me with their unhindered and unapologetic exaltation of Christ. I’ve known Jason since he was a little boy. He’s one of the great worship leaders in America and knows how to set the platform for a preacher.
Ed Litton has done an incredible job pulling together all the elements of this convention. It’s been a joy to pray for him and talk with him through this year about the experience. I had as much joy watching him lead us as I had leading the conference last year. Ed is one of the great thinkers, preachers, and writers of this generation. If you don’t read his blog, you should.
Tomorrow will be a busy day–lunch with some folks from my publishing team at Broadman & Holman and then a book signing. Following that, it’s a mad dash back to the hotel for the revival forum with Life Action Ministries.
For those of you who knew the mantle I would wear today, thanks for praying. As I stood, I sensed a covering of grace and power from God. Thanks for having my back. Thanks for going before me in prayer.
Whatever God does through all this, He gets all the praise and glory.
2 Corinthians 4:5