By Carl Stagner
Better than a cappuccino from the coffee shop at Crossings was a spiritual jolt from God’s Word through Michael Thigpen on Tuesday morning. The second day of the Church of God Convention 2014 began with our movement’s history and rounded out with Revelation. Jesus our Subject transcended all the activities that took place and challenged the Church of God to take up the cause of rescuing children from the epidemic of sex trafficking.
Smiling faces and open hearts congregated within the cavernous expanse of the Crossings auditorium on Tuesday, anticipating a biblical and practical message through Michael Thigpen. Touching on our historical roots, but expounding on them, Thigpen challenged the church to renew the unity of its earliest days and tap into the power source available to all in the form of the Holy Spirit.
Tuesday’s second session, “Change a Life, Change the World,” was dedicated to illuminating, for the Church of God, the extent of the sex trade. Through a thirty-minute video documentary about the Shelter (Cuttack, India) and a follow-up message from Kimberly Majeski, the Church of God was inspired to rejoin this social cause which had originally been taken up in the early days of the movement.
During the lunch hour, some convention attendees went to Sonic and others went to Braum’s—both local favorites. But a few special meetings also took place at lunch that captured the attention and participation of many souls hungry for deeper fellowship. Christian Women Connection and the Military Chaplains each hosted luncheons, but a new group also gathered around the table. At the Young Pastors Luncheon, pastors from across the movement between the ages of twenty-five and forty were invited to come together to meet one another, get to know one another, and encourage one another over common experience. The fruitful event packed youthful energy and fresh ideas into one room.
In the afternoon, Diana Swoope delivered a message of exhortation and explained how a resurrected Jesus can certainly resurrect a dead church. “We can be bold because the fight is fixed!” she exclaimed. The session that followed featured Marty Grubbs, senior pastor of Crossing Church. Drawing on personal experience, Grubbs used wit, wisdom, and frank honesty to challenge ministry leaders to reflect and make the message of Jesus central. “I have no time for petty arguments,” he asserted, because “Jesus is the subject.”
Alanna Story served as worship leaders for the first two sessions of the day. During the last session, Sandi Patty, backed up by a choir and augmented by the talents of parents Ron and Carolyn, encouraged the Church of God in worship through timeless classics. Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of renowned evangelist Billy Graham, spoke from Revelation 1 as she challenged the Church of God to develop an even stronger love for Jesus Christ. She emphasized that God’s people can truly be bold if we exalt Jesus’ name above all else. “Omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent,” she proclaimed. “Jesus is unique. There is nobody like Jesus!”