By Carl Stagner
“Never felt such unity in the Church of God as I felt tonight in the opening session. Wow. Powerful.”
“Inspired. Motivated. Encouraged. Relieved. Thank you Pastor Jim Lyon…”
“Incredibly awesome start to the 2015 CHOG Convention! Looking forward to what the rest of this week will bring!”
These are just a few of the overwhelmingly positive responses to the powerful opening day of Church of God Convention 2015. From the pre-convention prayer meeting, to the Town Hall session and afternoon conferences, to the kickoff worship experience in the sanctuary, CHOG Convention 2015 opened in a way that few could forget. More than two thousand online live feeds were connected to view the opening service (many individual feeds were shared by congregations of viewers!), and a near-capacity crowd was present at Crossings Community Church in Oklahoma City to worship with Selah and hear God’s Word as only Timothy Clarke can preach it.
After a warm greeting from Jim Lyon and host church pastor, Marty Grubbs, it was time for Selah to lead the gathered saints in worship. The contemporary Christian recording artists inspired the crowd to its feet and had hands clapping from the front row to the balcony. The Spirit moved powerfully during classic hymns such as “It is Well With My Soul,” and classic hits such as “Wonderful, Merciful Savior,” and “You Raise Me Up,” as well as fresh compositions. The down-to-earth vocalists stuck around following the service to greet fans and sign CDs.
Though Timothy J. Clarke needed no introduction, Selah’s inspirational worship prepped hearts for what only God could have had in store. Highlighting the boldness of the early church as recorded in the first four chapters of the book of Acts, Timothy Clarke challenged us to remember who we are, to remember whose we are, and to remember what we’ve been given. In a dynamic illustration of Proverbs 28:1, he suggested that the wicked are all-too-often bold while the righteous flee. “I believe we will begin to reclaim the boldness of God when we remember who we are,” he insisted. “Can we reclaim our boldness? Yes, we can!”
Multiple conferences on subjects from children’s ministry to community outreach took place earlier in the afternoon. The Be Bold Academy was launched (more information coming here soon!), and Church of God Ministries announced a new name for its mission-sending arm: Global Strategy. Capacity crowds were in attendance for both sessions.
Before the crowded hallways and atrium. Before the lines to enter the sanctuary for an unforgettable night of worship and preaching. Before the conferences, the dinners, and luncheons. Before Jim Lyon’s very-well-received Town Hall meeting. Before all of that, somebody prayed. Many, in fact, prayed.
“I think everything that happens in the kingdom happens because somebody first prayed. So it has to be the first thing, and I’m excited to be a part of the first thing,” John Boedeker explains. Committing everything that would be said and done to the Lord, the pre-convention prayer service that John officiated in the Chapel at Crossings Community Church was certainly not the least important part of the day. In fact, just the opposite. Men and women of God faithfully lifted up each convention speaker and worship leader by name. Following the meeting, several of those in attendance walked the entire facility and prayed over each area in the building where important events would take place this week. Thank you to all who prayed!
So what’s in store for your Tuesday at Be Bold. Reclaim.? The General Assembly will convene its first meeting of 2015 beginning at 8:30. At 11:00, don’t miss Gillian Grannum speak a message of encouragement and exhortation to the Church of God. At 2:00 in the afternoon, you’ll want to hear the update on CHOG TraffickLight and rejoice in how the Lord has used this initiative to make a difference in the world. At 3:45, Steve Southards will preach and, at 7:00, acclaimed Christian music artists Shane & Shane will set the stage for author-speaker Sheila Walsh to share her testimony and a message from God’s Word. Join us!
Learn more about CHOG Convention 2015 at www.chogconvention.org!