Thursday in Tulsa

Thurday in Tulsa began with butterflies and anticipation! Maggy and I went to the place where I was to speak. We got there early and enjoyed some conversations with friends. I really didn’t expect very many to be there, but we had a very nice class size for a Thursday morning slot. Dusty Rush said there were about 60 and Paul Franks said there were at least 100. I like Paul’s estimate. I do not want to try to name all of my friends who were present because I’ll surely leave someone out. Suffice it to say that I was so happy to see many friends and fellow bloggers sitting in the audience. I will mention Gerry Parker, who I have worked closely with for several years on the Berean Spirit Yahoo Group. I get to see him and Elizabeth once a year now that they live in Wyoming. Bill Denton is also a long time Berean Spirit friend who was on the front row. Blog friends Wade Tannehill and┬áDarin Hamm were in attendance. Hurricane Relief partners Stan and Sue Monkress and Mike Allred were also in attendance. I think I said I wasn’t going to name names … fickle me. I mentioned Paul Franks, and his wife Glenda, were present as well. I gave┬áPaul kudos during the lesson for being the first one to suggest that Katrina was nothing to run away from, but to seize the day and use the disaster to spread the gospel. I was glad that the folks who rode up to Tulsa with me were in attendance …. they hear me all the time. E-mail buddy and blog reader Doyce Hall gave me a big hug. The feedback on my lesson was encouraging and I enjoyed speaking to the group that gathered…and appreciated each one (even if I didn’t name you!). Angie Burns was a little late and missed the class, but I did finally get to meet her. What a bright and positive person she is!

After my class I stayed in place to hear Tim Rush talk about his work in Guadalajara, Mexico. Having heard Terry for years, and having become good friends with Dusty, this was my first time to hear and meet Tim. He has such a heart for the mission work he is doing. I appreciated so much what he had to say about how Jesus is making inroads in the various families with which he is working. The Rush family certainly have used their gifts and talents to make waves in the Kingdom.

Following Tim’s class Maggy and I walked across the parking lot to hear his dad, Terry. Terry’s message was excellent and really should be heard by every eldership / leader team. Two things stood out that were of interest. One had to do with elders finding ministers to work with their congregations. In my own words, elderships are often looking for a rock star but they pass up the man who would do the best job for them. David was not Samuel’s first choice for king, recalled Rush. Another point was that elderships cannot allow critics to decide the direction of the congregation. Very powerful points made here. Buy the CD. Pass it around. There were other great things in there as well.

Lunch with friends at Casa Viva was a lot of fun. In addition to our crew from ‘Goula, we had Paul and Glenda Franks and Gary and Garrett Irby join us. Paul and Glenda I’ve known since I was 17 and a student at Magnolia Bible College. Garrett, many years ago, was one of those little kids at camp that you just know is going to do great things for God. I think he has. His dad, Gary, was working in our flooded house within a few weeks after the storm. He is so patient and compassionate. We will never forget his love and service.

I only went to one afternoon session because I spent an hour talking with a friend. Robert Cox had one of those ‘old fashioned workshop sermons’ … and it was soooo good. It was a very encouraging message that Jesus wants to save everybody. He spoke of their work with Crossings Church in Illinios and the diverse group of people they have been reaching. Excellent evangelism encouragement. Robert has a lot of charisma and his message is captivating. His brother, Steve, is an old friend and it was good to reconnect with Steve and Marilyn who now live in Andalusia, AL.

No one wanted supper at supper time, so we rested in the hotel for an hour and headed back up to the Pavilion. Bruce Marciano spoke about his experience in making the Visual Bible’s account of the life of Jesus according to Matthew. Durant served as the worship team for the night and they were excellent. Keith Lancaster and Shane Coffman led the singing in a great way. The highlight of the evening was a solo performance of the song “You Raise Me Up” by Memorial Drive’s Involvement Minister, Jason Thornton. Simply beautiful. So encouraging.

So I had the brilliant idea (since we skipped supper) of going to the Village Inn near the hotel for a late night supper. We had no idea how late it would be. Evidently they were super-short staffed. I counted two waiters in the place trying to wait on all the tables. I got the idea from the shouting in back that there was one cook. Our waiter was evidently new and didn’t know the menu. It was over two hours before we were through eating … and got back about midnight. Well, we laughed and made the best of it. It wasn’t their fault I guess.

So we’re going into the workshop an hour late this morning … and looking forward to another great day! I’ll fill you in later!

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