504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Thursday, July 14, 2011

On Mortality and Immortality

I experienced something that was brand new to me while worshiping with the folks at the Interlaken conference in Switzerland. It was Thursday morning and the last service of the week was underway. A group of volunteers from Virginia had conducted Vacation Bible School for the 40 or so children of the participants of the meeting. The precious children were singing their VBS songs, as cute as can be. The lyrics were from the Great Commission and the children sang of their obedience to "go" because Jesus said to go.

One of the volunteers from Virginia--an 81-year old man--was in the balcony taking pictures of the children and suddenly he fainted. Some people saw that he was in trouble and immediately rushed to help. A medical doctor (internal medicine), a physician's assistant, and a nurse were all present as European Baptists or volunteers from Virginia (part of the conference). Despite the immediate medical attention that the gentleman received, he was not responsive and passed away.

As we prayed, my mind raced all over the map. As one who has been a leader of trips, I felt for the group who was stunned and for the leaders who had to sort out both emotions and details. I felt for the family members who would hear the news back home (he was not married, but his 84-year old fiancee was with him). I felt for the conference as the worship service had to end abruptly and morphed into a prayer meeting. The auditorium was cleared so that medical personnel and ambulance could have room to work. Communion was cancelled and people who had flights began to leave.

I overheard more than one person say that when it was their time, that is the way they wanted to go. He was into his eighth decade of life and was on an international mission trip with people he loved and who loved him. He was enjoying a late-in-life romance and was working with children from all over Europe in Vacation Bible School. He listens to those precious children sing about Jesus and in an instant he is face to face with the object of worship for all those little voices. He did not suffer, did not linger, did not delay his trip to glory at all. The children sang of their willingness to go and then this Virginian saint moved quickly across the river, and I am sure he was willing to go.

I left with a disturbed peace that we would miss this godly hero, but he would wait for us where there is no pain and where he is surrounded by children and angels singing, "Worthy is the Lamb."

Thank you Jesus for a glimpse of heaven in Switzerland.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On worshiping with the nations

Tonight I sang a song that has been around for a few years. The first time I heard it was several years back. I was in a worship service At the Hatch Auditorium at the Caswell Conference Center on the edge of the Cape Fear River in North Carolina. Over 1000 students and their adult sponsors were singing at the top of their lungs

He can move the mountains
My God is mighty to save
He is mighty to save
Author of Salvation
He rose & conquered the grave
Jesus conquered the grave...

On that night, I was moved to tears at the sound and sight of teenagers worshiping, at significant volume, of the power and promise of the Gospel. Their lives as disciples were ahead. They sang of the strength and promise of their future for earth and eternity.

Shine your light let t he whole world sing We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus

Tonight I sat in an auditorium in Interlaken, Switzerland singing the same song with several hundred people from all over the world. Judi and I are here to minister at an annual conference and youth camp for the International Baptist Convention At one point the worship leaders were discerning enough to drop out all instruments and back away from microphones to hear only the voices in the room fill up the space. And fill it up they did. As usually happens when amplified music and vocals drop out to give way to the voices in the room, the harmonies emerged, arms were lifted and the nations came together.

I wept as I heard those voices sing,

Everyone needs compassion
A love that's never failing
Let mercy fall on me

There were people from Berlin and Brussells, Copenhagen and Colon, Dubai and Dusseldorg...They were from military bases at Ramstein, Wiesbaden and Aviano. They came from Canada, Germany, Switzerland, France, England, Denmark, Norway, Italy, and even a couple from New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a Savior
The hope of nations...

That last line hit me like it had never hit before. I was in the room with people of the nations singing about The Hope of Nations. The Hope of Nations was proclaimed with accents from all over Europe, and some parts beyond. The Hope of Nations...I let that roll through my mind and looked around at brothers and sisters from the nations,

Singing for the Glory of the Risen King.

Hallelujah. The King is on the throne. He is moving among the nations. Shine your light and let the whole world see.

Auf Wiedersehen!