Saturday, June 04, 2005

Annual Conference Reflections, Part 2

still here at Annual Conference.

This morning for worship our guest preacher was retired Bishop Dan Solomon. I heard him preach most recently at the 2004 Northeastern Jurisdictional Conference, and he was excellent, and his time with us this morning at AC proved no less inspiring.
Bishop Solomon preached on 1 Peter 3:13-15, "The Reason for Our Hope." He gave us three 'handles':
1) Respond to the awesomeness of God. He asked, "are you more occupied with the weakness of the church than you are with the greatness of God?" He said that we tend to do plenty of blaming, but he asked, "is God able? God is able. If God is able, I am willing."
2) Redefine our being. Solomon said our personhood is redefined by Jesus Christ, and we are to be representatives of Christ in the world. He told a story about a church member who went on and on about how excited he was about the mission statement his church had spent a year creating. Solomon told us, "I've never seen a mission statement that comes with batteries included." Jesus' mission statement was simple and clear: found in Luke 4:18.
3) Reclaim a mission passion. Solomon preached that churches do not spontaneously spring up - they are born of mission. Jesus taught that we must lose our life to save it, and save it to lose it. Churches aren't losing, Solomon said, they are hoarding. "Surprise for a Christian is faithlessness."
Again, I thoroughly enjoyed his style and his message. Luckily, he's preaching again tomorrow morning at closing worship!
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