WAFJ Tribute

Monday, July 31, 2006

Hillsong Conference, Australia

I asked Vicky if i could share with you all a bit about the Hillsong Conference that Melinda and I attended in Sydney, Australia. Many have heard of Hillsong church. Others may be familiar with the song "Shout to the Lord" written by Darlene Zschech, the worship pastor at that church. Their music has reached millions of people around the world.

A few years ago Pastor Scott, in a staff meeting, half jokingly-half seriously said, "if you make it to ten years here (MVFCN), we'll send you to the Hillsong music conference." Last fall, he not only renewed that promise, but sealed it by telling me to start making the reservations.

Melinda and I left on June 28 and returned July 13 (we added a week of personal vacation so we could go see the Great Barrier Reef). It was one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. There were 26,000 registered delegates (that's 26k) representing 71 different countries. It was held at Sydney Olympic Park, which is where the 2000 Summer Olympics were. There was an amazing line-up of speakers and musicians including Jentezen Franklin from Gainesville, GA; Rick Warren--Saddleback Church; Bill Hybels--Willow Creek; Louis Giglio--founder of the Passion Movement; Israel Houghton and New Breed; Cindy Cruise-Ratcliff; and many others.

Those are some of the facts and figures. Impressive as they were, and as cool as all the sight seeing was including my first SCUBA experience on the Great Barrier Reef. The real work for us was, and remains, immeasurable. It was the overwhelming presence of God as we worshipped with over 18,000 people in our designated evening worship service. It was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that refreshed our hearts and renewed and rekindled our passion for ministry. It was the challenging, step-on-our-toes messages that caused us to want to be better spouses, parents, Christians, pastors and leaders.

Over the next few days I'll share some specifics about what took place in our hearts and lives. ...stay tuned...

pastor mike

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

A Day to Reflect

Today was a work day on the road for me. I drove from Aiken, to Denmark, to Barnwell, to Wagener, and even to Saluda - so you can see I had alot of time to think and reflect. Reflect on God's faithfulness.

It has been seven months since Scott went to be with the Lord. And oddly enough, time has passed by quickly. We have gone thru several holidays, Father's Day, Mother's Day, our 28th wedding anniversary and also what would have been Scott's 50th birthday. This has been seven months of radical change and adjustment for me. A few things that I have had to experience for the first time are, doing everything alone, checking single on an employment application, and coming to the understanding that you can't talk to or touch the most precious person in your life again and if something needs to get done, you have to do it, or it won't get done. It has not been an easy time for me but God and I have used this time to grow closer together. He has not left my side, He even carried me at times when things were very dark. He was with me every step of the way.

With the love and support of our family and friends God has enabled us to face things as they come, one day at a time. Every day, I wear a bracelet with those words "One Day At A Time" engraved on it, this reminds me that I can handle anything one day at a time with God. As I look back, I can't help but be amazed at the family of God and God's provision. Everywhere I look or turn, God has provided our needs. I have not a want or a need that God has not provided.

This once again shows me how important it is being a part of the family of God. How we need to reach out to others who don't know Christ and show them who God is and how they can be a part of the greatest family, the family of God. Why do people make faith in God so hard? It is as simple as calling out His name, Jesus. Jesus. There is power in His name!! Forgiveness in His name. Power to overcome sickness, broken hearts, relationship problems, and financial issues. Our prayers are heard and they WILL be answered by Jesus. Call out His name! Jesus.

So get busy - time is short - roll up your shirt sleeves , we have people to see, and testimonies to share. We must get busy doing work that has kingdom rewards! Who will you share Christ with today?

Love you,