God is Good
God is good.
We made it back from the 20th Anniversary Celebration University in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Three other compatriots from Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference joined me on this life-changing trip. Quite frankly, our sojourn taught me an old lesson afresh, namely that God is good, that we ought to bear public witness to the same more frequently. What follows mirrors the substance of Psalm 100.
Some of you prayed for traveling mercies. We made it to Africa and returned safely. Thirty to 35 persons were randomly put together in a group. We worshiped, prayed, talked and shared with one another and became community if only for a moment.
Our denomination has built Africa University through prayer, presence, apportionments and special giving. More than 4,000 graduates have been sent into the world from Africa University. The current student body numbers 1,200 with 700 more involved in long-distance learning. Money and students are part of the lifeblood of educational institutions.
Dr. Roger Ireson, former General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education, offered a conclusion to his address that epitomized what God taught me afresh in Zimbabwe. “Africa University did not just happen, he said, “it’s a work of God.”
Last but not least, I preached the closing celebration Service for the 20th Anniversary Celebration. The unexpected request was made less than 24 hours before the service. Clearly, it was the work of God that made it happen. I had a night to listen, form and shape what God wanted me to say.
Second, God provided comforting messages before the preaching moment. I marched in procession with a Methodist men’s group singing God of Grace and God of Glory in their native tongue. Liturgical dance and hymns like How Great Thou Art, Amazing Grace and Psalm 100 set the stage for the preaching of the word.
What I preached came down to a passionate desire to brag on what God had done for the church and for me. Annual Conferences, Bishops and special donors to Africa University were acknowledged in detail and/or requested to stand. As I prepared for sermon the night before, God’s voice caused me some inner struggle. The day before, two annual conferences I’ve led or lead were acknowledged and praised for their contributions to Africa University. Plus, I was asked to stand and accept the praise.
Then, God asked me if I was going to take the opportunity in the sermon to publicly thank God for what He had done or me in Zimbabwe, namely I received medical attention the moment when needed and God resourced me in the preparation and delivery of the sermon. I bore witness to what God had done for me and the people of God in Zimbabwe. It turned out to be one of my best sermons in a while. Best of all, I learned afresh that my best sermon in a while didn’t just happen; it was “the work of God.”
God is good.