The preacher’s son had a major encounter with God while in a foreign nation and came home to his dad’s church a change – totally transformed – man. He wanted to be baptized as a believer and publically declare his new found faith in Christ after many years away from the Lord and living in very difficult and trying circumstances. The family is thrilled to say the least; the dad, who is the pastor of the local church, will do the baptism. The relatives are gathering for a big family celebration afterwards – food, fun, and fellowship well into the evening. Everything else was cancelled; let the celebration of God’s goodness and the return of the prodigal begin.
Sound like a rewrite of the story of the prodigal son from the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus. Could be – but it is not. It is the true account of what is happening today in the town I am ministering in while in Ohio for a few days of meetings. And, it will be the focus of the whole day. Instead of heading to the apostolic roundtable this afternoon for the fellowship evening being held there I will remain here in this rural town in Ohio celebrating with my host’s family. Their son has returned to the Lord! We leave in the wee hours of Monday morning for the two days of meetings of this edition of the apostolic roundtable being held in Toledo, Ohio. We will only miss the fellowship night at the Roundtable and still be there in time for all the discussions and decision making.
I am excited to be at River of Life Community Church this morning. I have never been to Butler, Ohio before and so this is my first time in this local church. However, over the years of traveling and ministering in different churches, and thus with different believers, I know I will be welcomed, accepted, seen as a part of the body, and a member of the family. God has a big family around the world and no matter where I go, what the worship is like, or what language is spoken I know I am with family and accepted as a fellow traveler in the faith. Today will be no exception.
I arrived last night after many hours of travel and thus many hours of reading. And, after enjoying a brief time of fellowship with my host family in whose home I am staying – an early night to bed as I was up at 4:00a to be at the airport for 5:00a and morning coffee with members of my family. The trip will be busy and every minute will be invested in Kingdom discussions… Our topics (with written presentations sent to us well ahead of time) include:
1> Church Discipline (2 major papers – 30+ pages)
2> Philosophy of Governance (1 presentation paper)
3> The Gospel of the Kingdom (1 presentation paper)
I would appreciate your prayers for both the morning service today; the travel from here to Toledo early Monday morning; the two day roundtable discussions and the 7 men involved; and the drive back to the airport in Columbus, Ohio late Tuesday afternoon and the two flights home on Tuesday evening.