Friday, November 1, 2019

Elephants, Tigers and a Regional Conference... Oh, My!

       What a joy and privilege to join nearly 500 brothers and sisters in Christ from over 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region for a week of worship, fellowship, and workshops. The theme this year was Unleash the Power: the power of God, the power of the Church, the power of the Holy Spirit, the power of Discipleship, the power of Love, and the power of Unity. We were challenged and encouraged by many great speakers and seminars. It was also encouraging to hear stories of how God is working throughout the region. So often, I am so focused on the work before me in our small part of the world that I don’t praise God for what He is accomplishing around the world. 
         Some of the most potent take-aways for me were: “Don’t be a seedless watermelon”. I need to make sure I’m planting seeds and training up others to produce fruit as well. Also, “the person in front of you is more important than anything you have to do.” A great reminder for me, a very task-oriented person, to focus on the person, not just the task to be accomplished. This also means embracing interruptions, for they are often divine appointments. I still have much to learn, and much to unlearn in order to reflect more clearly the Lord I strive to serve. 
        Following the conference, we enjoyed a time of retreat and lots of free time to explore the wonders of Thailand. This included up-close encounters with tigers and a day caring for elephants. Speaking of unleashing power, the power and majesty displayed by these creatures was nothing short of incredible. I felt a mix of fear and wonder as I stroked the big cat’s hindquarters and felt her rippling muscles underneath her beautiful coat. I was amazed by the gentleness of the mother elephant and the strength of the baby, who at 5 months of age could knock me over like a feather as he tumbled and played. Surely the God who created such majestic creatures as the elephant and the tiger is worthy of even more fear and awe-struck wonder. His power far surpasses the power displayed in these amazing animals. 
“O Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee
How great Thou art, how great Thou art”

Lord, may you unleash your power in our lives and in the lives of all whom we encounter. May we display your power in gentleness and love. And may you receive all the honor and praise for all the wonders you perform every day. 

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