By Randy Snyder
Years ago, I learned there is a difference between the comments, “Great message today!” and “That message really spoke to me about something going on in my life.” There’s a difference between, “I really enjoyed what you said” and “Things are going to be different starting today.” The real question after any message should be, “But what did it do?” What, if anything, was really accomplished?
When I apply that question to the Jacksonville NACC Regional Conference this year, I am confident the answer will be most positive. The gathering began with powerful worship led by John Elliot; it ended with the same. He led numerous times in between. A good worship leader has musical talent and the skill to lead people in singing. A great worship leader has everyone looking to the Lord and not to himself. John led us to the throne in a way I have never experienced. Ask anyone who attended any of the gatherings, and I believe they will tell you the same thing.
Howard Brammer’s opening message set the tone for the rest of the week. The theme of “Journey to the Presence” was developed not merely as an intellectual exercise, but as a real experience of God in our lives. That’s easier said than done, but it was done! The speakers were well prepared and well received. The messages complemented one another. Each one prepared us spiritually for the next. Together they created a doorway that took us to an awareness of his presence, his closeness, and his desire for fellowship with us. The journey and all that is associated with the tabernacle of the Old Testament ultimately led us to the cross. Everyone’s spiritual journey involves embracing the cross, sooner or later.
The fellowship over the meal times was not only enjoyable; it continued the awareness of God’s presence through times with other believers. Like any gathering of Christians, there is a special dynamic that happens when people who love Jesus Christ share with others who do the same.
What a journey! What a Savior!
Randy Snyder, minister with CrossView Christian Church, Waynesville, Ohio, served as southeast vice president for the 2005 NACC.