Thursday, November 06, 2008

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday morning we met in the hotel lobby a few minutes before 9:00. We went to the conference grounds where service was just beginning. The Sunday schedule was a little different from other days. We basically had two services. The first was planned to be about four hours, there would be a break for lunch and we would return about 2:00 for the final service and conclude about 4:30. They have to vacate the grounds to make room for another group that is coming in for a conference.

The morning service had two features that we haven’t seen this week. Apparently, they observe the Lord’s communion on the first week of each month. Being together on this Sunday was a special observance as they were able to share communion together. Pastor Jaiprakash led the service by first offering the communion to his elders. They in turn served the people who lined down the aisle to come forward to receive communion. The Bread was a sweet bread that would be similar to a small square of cake. They shared a common cup … Rhette and I were happy to go first following the elders. It was a most unusual tasting fruit juice … I didn’t ask questions!

They also received the only offering of the week. Two large square cans (previously vegetable oil containers) were painted and used as offering receptacles. People marched around and gave their offering to the Lord. It was touching to see them come and give knowing how little many of them had.

Since this was the last service, time was given to honor several people who had helped with the conference. The leadership were honored with garlands and we again were so honored. Pastor Anil said many nice things about us coming and the blessing we were to them. Today was also Gabriel’s birthday! I gave him a copy of my latest book, A Season of Purpose, as well as my notebook from the conference. I also gave copies of the book to Pastor JP, Pastor Anil, and Pastor Manoj.

My last message (the ninth!) focused on the Great commission. Due to the schedule I kept it brief and tried to make the possibility of reaching the world more real. I used a illustration involving several people. First, I picked about 12 people and talked about how I could be close to a small group and lead them but I would be limited in how many I can effectively reach. I had them sit down and then called three: Blessing, Eddie, and Steven. I talked about mentoring and discipling them to reach others. I had them go out and bring three each. That made twelve. Then I had each of those go out and get three each. It really illustrated the power of multiplication in discipleship. “Go therefore making disciples in every nation!”

We lingered a good while after the service. The sound company tore down their equipment. The chairs were picked up by another group. The church had to collect all their music and media equipment. Several just set around visiting as though they hated to say goodbye. Plans were made that we would go to Pastor Anil’s home for dinner so we returned to the hotel for a little while before going over there about 9:00. They were very hospitable and fixed chicken, roti, and rice. Then they brought out apples and bananas. After dinner we retired to the living area and had masala tea (some of the best I’d had) and then they set out chips! We were filled physically and spiritually after a full week of ministry.

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