Sunday morning Rachelle and I attended the worship service at Castle Hills Baptist Church in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Frank Page was the guest speaker and spoke from the heart on the subject of 'missed opportunities.' Rachelle and I sat on the second row right in front of a long time family friend, Dr. Roy Fish. Roy was the former interim pastor of Castle Hills and a highly respected professor by many Southern Baptists during his tenure at Southwestern Theological Seminary. We had a nice conversation with Dr. Fish before the service and the church gave him a standing ovation when he was introduced by the current pastor. The service started at 10:30 and ended about 12:10, and both Rachelle and I felt the worship service atto be both dynamic and uplifting.
There were probably about 300 guests in the service who were in San Antonio for the SBC. Ben Cole and I visited with several pastors, convention staffers, agency trustees and IMB personnel. I particularly enjoyed visiting prior to the service with IMB Regional Leader Rodney Hammer and IMB trustee Harold Booze (who's daughter sings in the choir at Castle Hills). I also spoke briefly with Jim Richards, Executive Director for the SBCT, Bart Barber and Thomas White of SWBTS, and a host of other Southern Baptist messengers after the service. Again, I'm sure that there were some wonderful worship services throughout the San Antonio area Sunday morning, but we were at one of the best.
We ate lunch at a steak restaurant on the Riverwalk and then made our way to the lobby of the hotel where we were able to greet many of the messengers arriving for the convention. I met Les Puryear and his wife for the first time, both of whom were very gracious. My parents also arrived in San Antonio around 3:00 p.m. along with our church member and fellow messenger Dr. Sam Storms. We spent much of the afternoon visiting in the lobby with several people including a few reporters. Jim Jones of the Fort Worth Star Telegram always asks some very perceptive questions and a New York Times and Texas Observer reporter also displayed keen insights into polity of the SBC in the questions that were asked.
Speaking of reporters, the San Antonio Express ran very good article front page article on the convention and possible new directions. There seems to be a larger number of reporters here in San Antonio than are usually at the SBC, and I'm wondering if it is not because of the rumors that President Bush will be speaking at the SBC either Tuesday or Wednesday morning.
The Pastor's Conference
Dr. Hayes Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church, Naples, Florida and the former pastor of the church where I now pastor, is this year's President of the SBC Pastor's Conference which began at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday evening. We registered as messengers prior to the beginning of the Pastor's Conference and made our way to the hall to listen to some of the speakers. I have always believed that speaking at a Pastor's Conference has to be one of the most difficult venues in which to speak because of the movement and commotion of thousands of people walking around during the sessions. However, we enjoyed the testimony of Paige Patterson and the worship at the conference and then made our way back to the Marriott Rivercenter to catch a light dinner in the concierge room prior to meeting folks in the lobby of the hotel aat 9:00 p.m.
It was a great privilege to meet several people who stopped by the lobby last night just to say hello. There are too many to name individually, but one of the things I have loved about the last two years is the new friendships that I have been able to develop with Southern Baptists from around the nation. At around 10:00 p.m. about twenty five of us made our way up to our suite for an informal prayer meeting. We began the day in worship and ended it in prayer -- I can't think of a better way to start the week in San Antonio.
It is now about 12:25 a.m. Monday morning and the horns are continuing to be honked incessantly in downtown San Antonio. The Spurs won game two and for the last two hours, non-stop, downtown has been a noisy commotion of honking, screaming, cheering and a continous cacophony of noise. I don't know that I could sleep if I wanted. My wife asked, "Did they win the series or just the second game?" I told her, "Just Game 2." She said, "Thank goodness we won't be here when the win the entire series.' I agree. :)
Tomorrow night's post will be just a quick update on Monday's activities and then I will point out three very important events that will occur during the business session of the Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday. I realize that a few of you will be watching the Convention via live streaming this Tuesday, and I would like to give you a heads up of on those things for which you should be watching. More importantly, I would like to give those of you actually attending the convention a couple of tips regarding the important times you should be present and voting at the SBC.
We prayed tonight that the Holy Spirit might move in a mighty way here at the SBC. I believe if we were to be as excited about His presence in our lives as the Spurs fans are about their basketball team, our convention just might end up changing the world.
Wow. It's amazing.
It's now 12:40 a.m. and the horns completely stopped. I mean, all of the sudden, like a conductor gave the dramatic down beat, all horns stopped honking.
It's time to go to bed. :)
Blessings to all,