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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

LCMC Convention

The first few days of this week I am attending the annual convention of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ. Normally attending a church convention is about as much fun as a root canal, but this gathering is a real joy. Part of that joy for me is just the contrast. Without being too critical, the last decade or more of ELCA gatherings I've been to were political events focused on social policy and controversial church decisions in which various factions warred over slim majority decisions. Back in the late 90's I took some delegates from Williston, ND to the ELCA synod gathering, and four hours into it they leaned over to me and said, "What are we doing here? This isn't us. This isn't anything like our church. We've been here for hours and they haven't even mentioned Jesus!"

The LCMC convention is a very different gathering. Jesus is named and honored as Lord; the Bible is quoted, taught, and celebrated. Rather than bickering over decisions, the body of delegates and visitors share a common sense of calling and purpose. Conversations in the hallways are positive encouragement between colleagues or even prayer for each other in corners here and there.

One of the breakout sessions yesterday (the one I attended) was a powerful seminar on how to have ongoing intimacy with God. It was like water on my dry soul, I have to admit, and I came to my quiet time this morning with a renewed hunger to spend time with God.

It was also good to get reacquainted with many people at this convention. I ran into a couple profs from my college and seminary days, and several people who were students at LBI or at Luther. Many of us had harrowing stories of what we've gone through in the last year or two, but invariably God is doing good things for these dear colleagues and working through them in powerful ways.

Thank you, Jesus, for renewing and reforming your church. May we never lose our sole focus on you!

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