(03/28/2010) Today, God willing, I am speaking twice at South Brooke Church of Christ in Tulsa, Oklahoma, talking about Jesus our great high priest, the Son of God who became a man to make men and women children of God.This weekend follows three full days of The Tulsa Workshop, which offers far more than any one person can take in. Much of the joy and benefit of such gatherings is the opportunity to meet, renew acquaintances and enjoy fellowship with a host of brothers and sisters from around the world. On this occasion that included international gracEmail subscribers Jacob Agak from Kenya and new subscriber Steve Raine from New Zealand. On Thursday evening, about 30 gracEmail subscribers gathered for a gracEmeal and visit together.
I did manage to hear a few scheduled talks, by stirring speakers such as Don McLaughlin, Randy Harris, Terry Rush and Mike Cope. The emphasis was on the God who is active today and who invites us to trust him enough to take risks in his service, expecting his supernatural Presence and results. One of the most memorable speakers I heard (twice) was Liz Pence, who grew up in a loveless home to become an embittered atheist, only to be reached by the Holy Spirit through a subordinate at the bank where Liz was a supervisor. The subordinate, who always looked for the image of God in every person and praised God constantly, despite Liz’s intentional swearing and hostility to upset her, asked Liz to lunch one day. The employee then destroyed all Liz’s defenses by commenting that she did not know how Liz could be an atheist because “I see God in you.” Before the story was over, Liz became a believer, went to Mexico alone as a missionary and spent two years living in a rat-infested shed with a dirt floor. There she almost starved to death but experienced a profound awareness of God’s love and gained spiritual insight seldom equalled (my opinion, not hers).
Liz’s classes were solid testimony and exhortation based on Scripture promises and assurances concerning the value of suffering, the weight of glory, the believer’s certain hope and the importance of radical obedience. Rather than keeping us from happiness, Liz insisted, making God happy by obeying him in love is the path to the deepest happiness now, in addition to future benefits. Liz’ teaching was not academic or mechanical but had the freshness of the Spirit of God working through someone prepared by brokenness and confirmed by authenticity — similar in some ways to that of Watchman Nee. For more on her ministry and message, click here ( www.hoperevealed.com).