I finally joined the 21
st century and got an iphone. It got a great workout during my most recent Jubilee
in Beeville, Texas. This was my 3rd time to return to the United Methodist church in this county-seat town in southeast Texas, and I was busy snapping pictures right and left during my time there.
I focused on the lives of several disciples, including Matthew, Thomas, Judas and Peter. Every night before my message, I would come out as one of these men and tell his story. After one service, a man told me how much he appreciated these dramatizations, as they pulled the disciples from ethereal realms into the real world where people sweat and struggle–but can also find grace and hope in Christ.
The Jubilee music was well-planned. I even threw my voice into the mix on the opening night, singing a medley of “Change My Heart, O God/Spirit Song.” On Monday night, the Gospel Truth band beautifully blended voices, guitars and mandolins, and the Beeville Men’s Chorus, an African-American group, rocked the house on the final night.
On Monday evening, after my message, I gave an invitation for people to approach the altar for a time of healing. After I anointed people with oil, Pastor Larry McCrorey and two church members stood behind me to pray for those who came forward.
My final day was busy and fruitful. I got up bright ‘n early to meet with about a dozen men at a local taqueria. My devotional message was entitled, “If John Wesley Ran Your Men’s Group.” I speculated that Wesley would urge modern churchmen to do three things: 1. Feed daily on God’s Word and not just feed their stomachs; 2. Get involved in koinonia fellowship and not just “coffee-pot” fellowship; 3. Claim their calling to do “God works,” not just good works. I also learned something very important that morning: I learned that south Texans call it a “breakfast taco” and not a “breakfast burrito” like we northerners do!
I also performed two Right Choice shows at local elementary schools that day. As the kids gathered, I got out my iphone and started snapping pictures. The children were more than happy to ham it up for me. The shows were a hit. I weaved magic around lessons on citizenship, honesty, bullying, sharing talents and reading good books. A grand total of 700 youngsters saw the program!
On Tuesday night, I invited the congregation to stand and share how the revival had impacted them. About ten people shared touching stories of how God moved in their lives that week. There was personal renewal, reconciliation and healing. After the service, a woman came up to me and said, “I got out of the box like you said to do this week.” I asked her to elaborate. She referenced a challenge I had made about inviting people to church. The woman said, “I’m shy, but I approached a stranger after worship tonight and asked her if she was visiting. She said ‘yes.'”
She told me that she invited the woman back to church and, when asked if they operated a nursery, she beamed and replied, “We have a great nursery. Our nursery workers will take good care of your child.”
The woman picked up a visitor’s coffee mug, stuffed with goodies, and handed it to the young mother. “We would love for you and your child to come back to our church!”
I only wish I had been there to capture the moment with my iphone.