June 23, 2006

I just glanced at my clock and saw that it is 12:38 AM on Saturday morning. But this counts as my Friday entry because I haven’t gone to bed yet. At the moment Marlene is sound asleep. After the final service tonight, we got back to our room about 11:30 PM. We have to leave at 2 AM to drive our rental car to the Denver airport where we will turn in the car, take a shuttle to the terminal, and then check in for our 5:30 AM flight from Denver to Memphis, where we will take a another flight back to Tupelo. If all goes well, we’ll be back home about 10:30 AM.
I thought about writing a summary of the conference, but thought better of it. On our way to the service tonight, Marlene commented that this week has helped clear away the cobwebs. Since Monday we have heard 21 excellent messages and listened to an amazing variety of gifted singers and musicians. The music has ranged from hymns to choruses to gospel with a touch of jazz and classical thrown into the mix. Marlene has said many times, “We needed to be here,” and she is right. We spent lots of time with Erwin and Rebecca Lutzer, and got to know Eric Alexander from Scotland, a gracious, godly man who preached with great power all week long. He spoke tonight on Romans 8:26-27, and later Erwin talked on the supreme importance of Jesus in light of the issues raised by the Da Vinci Code. I first met Ian Leitch when we preached together at Maranatha a few years ago. He helps Jamall as his second in command and also preached twice. This morning Gordon and Daphne McRostie drove down from Aurora for the morning session. They served as missionaries to the Muslim community in north Africa and Europe for many years.
The crowd stood and clapped so often tonight that we all got plenty of aerobic exercise. Greg Buchanan played a rollicking version of “When the Saints Go Marching In” on the harp. Russell Newport sang “He’s Alive.” The service ended with Scott Cameron and Entourage singing, “I Fell on My Knees and Cried, ’Holy’” followed by the MEF choir leading us in the Hallelujah Chorus. Then it was time to say to goodbye. No one wanted to leave. We spent a long time talking to Rod and Damaris Carbaugh. Erwin came by and told us, in connection with his sermon this Sunday at Moody Church, that humanly speaking, we owe our salvation to Charles Martel and the great victory he won at the Battle of Tours in 732. He spoke with great excitement while Rod and Damaris packed up their CDs and Marlene sat down to listen. The Battle of Tours turned back the Muslim armies and saved Europe from Muslim conquest. Without Martel’s amazing victory, there would have been no Protestant Reformation eight centuries later. Erwin is fun to listen to because he is a true history buff and knows how to make it come alive. I mention this because I enjoyed listening to Erwin and because everything I know about Charles Martel, I learned tonight.
As we get ready to go home, I can look back and see that God wanted us here for the great benefit it would be to us. I thought last year’s conference was the best I had ever attended, but this week the Holy Spirit seemed to move in a powerful way. People seemed touched at a very deep level. I am glad to have been a small part in what God did this week. We are much the better for having been here.

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