Thursday Night at the MEF Conference

June 22, 2006

Tonight’s service at the MEF conference had a little bit of everything. Mac Brunson, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, preached on “What do you when you sin?” from Psalm 51. He spoke with great passion about the importance of confession of sin in order to be right with God. As I listened, it occurred to me that I had not heard a sermon on that theme in a long time. A generation ago, when churches used to have week-long revival meetings, the Thursday night service was devoted to preaching to Christians to challenge them to get right with God. Tonight Mac gave us powerful Thursday night message, delivered with earnest eloquence. It is cleansing to the soul to hear a sermon like that.
After the first message, we had almost 40 minutes of music. While we have a detailed plan for each service, Jamall Badry likes to “call an audible” now and then. On the spur of the moment he asked Scott Cameron to sing “I’d Rather Have Jesus.” Later Scott and Carolyn Reed teamed up for a powerful rendition of “I’ve Just Seen Jesus.” John Hall enthused the crowd with a song called “Five Rows Back.” After the offering I preached on “If I Believe, Why Do I Doubt?” The audience seemed attentive and responsive during the message, which happened (I believe) in large part because of the music. Great music makes it easy to preach. Years ago Len Hoppe used to tell me that the worship leaders intended to give me the ball on the five yard line so I didn’t have to go very far to get into the end zone. That’s what happened tonight.
After the service we went out to eat with Paul and Marjorie Ferrin. All week long Paul has played the piano and Marjorie has played the organ. They are amazingly gifted and two of the most winsome people I have ever met. We went to the only restaurant we could find open at 11 PM and had breakfast together. Although it might not be good for the digestion, it’s fun having breakfast late at night. We laughed and talked until midnight.

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