I am hanging out this week with 20,000 of my best friends! The Church of the Nazarene is holding its General Conventions and General Assembly an every four-year event and it is happening in Indianapolis Indiana. It was ninety miles north-east of here that I came to faith in Christ though the ministry of this group 48 years ago. I was 13-years old, lost and confused, and the church offered me hope through Jesus Christ!
Tuesday I got to spend some time at the airport with some young folks involved with Youth In Mission. Together we were greeting and assisting our church members from outside of the United States, helping to get them downtown and settled into their hotels. I am so thankful that the church is still investing in young people. these young volunteers were an impressive group of people. They are kind and possess servant hearts. They were a blessing to hang out with and I had wonderful time getting to know them. We have some wonderful servant leaders and these Youth In Mission volunteers modeled godly service in a tangible way, not in a church service, but assisting people at the airport.
Because of the grace of God and the ministry of my church, my life was forever changed. Jesus has been my Lord and Savior and the church has been my family. I was loved and accepted by Christ, and I was welcomed and adopted into a great big wonderful family of believers. As I travel around the convention center here in Indy, I am reminded once again how much of an impact these people have had on my life. Words cannot adequately describe what they mean to me! They loved me and accepted me and gave me a place to serve. I was loved, corrected, discipled, challenged, pushed, prayed for, encouraged, and valued by the church. Has everyone and everything been perfect? No, but either have I, and yet here we are after all of these years and we are still together and I am still in love with my extended family. My family extends to over 160 nations around the world. When I see these people in the convention center I am at times overwhelmed by the goodness of God. Whatever I have lacked God has more than made up the difference. His assistance to me has come mostly through the people of my church. People who were willing to help and lend a hand. Today I must announce that I am debtor, first to the grace of God and I am a debtor to the church as well. Thank you for making a difference! I love you more than you will ever know.
Now let us pass on our faith to those coming behind us, and I am excited about the future!