By Carl Stagner
Day Two of CHOG Convention 2017 is now one for the history books. It wasn’t just an ordinary day at Central Community Church in Wichita, Kansas. This was a time of awakening to a new day which continues to unfold before our eyes. Focused on Jesus as the subject, churches across the movement are discovering a flag everyone can wave. The General Assembly, convention worship services, and extra events spread across the day each pointed to the centrality of Christ. So did the challenge Nick Vujicic issued for listeners to step out of the boat.
“What’s the point of going with God in faith if you know everything that’s going to happen already?” Nick asked rhetorically. He raised a good point on Wednesday night, and his point comes from personal experience. Though he was born without arms and legs, he has grown into an unstoppable kingdom force to be reckoned with. Standing on a raised platform in the sanctuary at Central Community Church, Nick Vujicic—who has spoken to millions of people around the world—heard the Holy Spirit direct him to come speak to the Church of God. We are so glad he did. He reminded us that when you don’t get the miracle you were hoping and praying for, you can still be a miracle to someone else. He reminded us to be thankful for what we have, instead of angry for what we don’t. Before the altar call, which resulted in dozens of people coming forward, he left us with a powerful point to ponder: “If God can use a man with no legs to be his hands and feet, then he can use any willing heart.”
We nod our head in agreement when Nick challenges us to go with God in faith. We say Amen to the assertion that Jesus is in the storm with us. But we still have to get out of the boat, and that takes courage. Allan Fuller, lead pastor of Mountain Park Community Church in Phoenix, Arizona, spoke to the Church of God in the morning service following an impassioned General Assembly address by Church of God Ministries general director Jim Lyon. The Church of God must be courageous like the apostles in order to take back what hell has stolen. “It’s possible to be courageous without Jesus, but it’s ridiculous to be with Jesus and not be courageous!” he exclaimed. Can we truly be bold and courageous? The answer resides with each of us, but Geremy Dixon, who spoke in the afternoon session, says we have to be united.
For this tribe to last, he explained, we must reassess what’s important and stop arguing about stuff that doesn’t matter. The lead pastor of First Church of God-Center of Hope in Inglewood, California, further insisted that “the next and greatest move of the Church of God is to show the world that we can live and walk in unity.” Unity has to be more than theoretical; it must also be functional. On the ground and online, evidence suggests that the Church of God is rallying together around our common message that Jesus is the subject. The world doesn’t care about such inconsequential matters over which churchgoing people love to bicker. The world needs to know that we’ve been forever changed by a man named Jesus.
Perhaps that’s why 75,000 believers recently linked arms with the Church of God in Pakistan. In a poignant moment on Wednesday evening, Jim Lyon introduced Samuel George of the Church of God in Pakistan as the movement publicly acknowledged and celebrated this new addition to the tribe. These Christians in Pakistan are now a part of a group known to them, and to more and more across the globe, as the “Jesus people.”
A variety of events and activities both exciting and spiritually moving composed the second day of Church of God Convention 2017, including the 25th anniversary banquet for the child sponsorship ministry of the Church of God—Children of Promise. Convention Thursday promises more divine moments. Check the program book for details: http://www.jesusisthesubject.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/2017_chog_convention_program-guide-web.pdf.
As a reminder, live streaming of CHOG Convention 2017 continues for each General Assembly session (8:00 AM CDT) and for the Thursday evening worship service (7:00 PM CDT). During these events, the live stream will be available at www.JesusIsTheSubject.org and www.chogconvention.org.
Don’t forget: when you get out of the boat, you might just walk on water.