Wednesday, May 02, 2012

By George, It Was a Nice Reunion

Last weekend was a pretty intense one including as it did prayers outside the Planned Parenthood abortion mill, work on the latest “When Swing Was King” volume, dealing with a particularly difficult attack of Claire’s acid reflux (if that’s actually what it is) and then an early morning trip to George, Iowa to preach at the two Sunday morning worship services of Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Because of Claire’s illness, we had to cancel plans to go up to Iowa earlier and we weren’t able to get much sleep on Saturday night.  Still feeling terrible early Sunday, she wasn’t able to make the trip at all - a huge disappointment for us and for those dear friends at Tabernacle whom we have such fondness for from the years (especially 2003-2004) when I frequently provided guest preaching services there.  (We also ended up having to forego attendance at Dan and Ann Hovanec’s going away party up in Blair on Sunday night.  Big bummer.)

But despite being a bit lonely, the 3-hour drive up into northwest Iowa was pleasant.  Cool.  A bit foggy.  No one on the road.  It was a good time to think and pray. And, of course, unlike using cell phones, applying makeup or trying to discipline children, prayer is a driving-friendly activity.

My time at Tabernacle was also very nice.  The church is healthy and growing and is as committed to pursuing biblical truth as ever.  It is really a quite impressive church.  Tabernacle Baptist is in a dinky town (nothing bad in that) but it's very far from any large metropolitan area. And yet they draw from a 60-mile area and currently have 500 or more regular attendees.  It’s a great example of how people respond to Bible preaching, a solid missionary vision, and a commitment to servant-oriented fellowship.

Furthermore, Tabernacle Baptist takes an approach to Christian music that -- get this -- emphasizes quality over volume, treasures generational unity more than trendiness, and respects not only the Church's cultural heritage but the intellect of the modern worshiper. And, not the least of its virtues, the music ministry there reflects a humble desire to "season" the worship service rather than dominate it. It is, by far and away, the best I have ever seen.

Claire and I made good friends there, several of whom we remain in frequent contact with through our LifeSharer letter, personal correspondence and Facebook.  And it was really nice to be with them and to have the honor of preaching at Tabernacle Baptist once more. I hope it's not the last.

I heard later that my absence from the pulpit of Faith Bible Church created a little consternation for some, particularly when they heard, “Denny isn’t with us this morning because he’s preaching at another church.”  But they were quickly assured that it didn’t represent a lasting change.  I was delighted to be in George, Iowa. But I’ll be delighted too to be back at Faith Bible next Sunday.