By Keith H. Ray
The NACC Regional Conference in Lexington is another testimony to God’s goodness and a reminder that God truly “inhabits the praise of his people.” Everything about the week reinforced the vision of this year’s president, Howard Brammer. Each speaker addressed the theme “Journey to the Presence.” The imagery of Old Testament themes enhanced the stage and reminded the audience of the symbols of God’s presence.
The preaching in every session reiterated the theme and offered a variety of perspectives concerning God’s presence. Howard Brammer opened with the “Purpose of the Journey.” Robert Webber addressed the dual dilemma of “Falling Away from the Presence” and “Returning to the Presence.” When it came to “Preparing for the Journey,” Rick Stedman spoke boldly and clearly. Eddie Lowen provided guidelines in “Providing for the Journey,” and Jon Weece led a moving and dramatic service of testimony that reinforced the theme of “Praying for the Journey.” David Faust gave an uplifting message on “The Presence of God as Revealed through His Glory,” and J. K. Jones gave a rousing finale with “Celebrating the Presence.”
I believe the Lexington conference was God honoring and uplifting for all who attended. God was clearly among his people, and the worship was ready evidence of that. John Elliott masterfully led each worship session with skill and grace. I watched session after session where God’s people were engaged in authentic worship and the Word was eagerly received by all.
While the conference was modestly attended, the spirit of the week was extremely positive and Christ-centered. Everyone offered numerous encouraging comments and a deep sense of gratitude. Southland Christian Church was an excellent host site, the NACC staff worked diligently and with excellence, and the leadership of this year’s president was timely and effective.
The Tuesday evening Homecoming Concert was a celebration that many will remember as a highlight of the conference. For a solid hour the audience was mesmerized by the voices of The Murray Hollis Trio, Terri Bewley, Homeward Bound, The Kelso Twins, The Messengers Quartet, The Good Twins, Paula Stefanovich, and others. It communicated to all how God truly “inhabits the praises of his people.”
Neither Lexington nor those who joined the journey to God’s presence will ever be the same.
Keith H. Ray, president with Lincoln (Illinois) Christian College and Seminary, served as midwest regional vice president for the 2005 NACC.