Rally for Christ lights spark in men (Aug. 18, 2004)



e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service
      
 

Rally for Christ lights spark in men

Aug. 18, 2004    News media contact:  Michael Wacht*    
407-897-1140   
mwacht@flumc.org     Orlando  {0143}

An e-Review Feature
By J.A. Buchholz**

TALLAHASSEE — Hurricane Charley may have prevented some people from attending the United Methodist Men's Rally for Christ, but those who did received special blessings from several keynote speakers who strove to enlighten and inspire.

The rally, held Aug. 14 at the Leon County Convention Center, was centered around the theme "Under the Master's Mandate" adapted from Luke 24:44. It's held once every two years and is a coordinated effort between the United Methodist Men of the Florida, Alabama/West Florida and Georgia conferences.

TALLAHASSEE — South Georgia Conference Bishop B. Michael Watson encouraged men attending the Men’s Rally for Christ to share their love of Jesus Christ with other men. The rally, held Aug. 14 at the Leon County Convention Center here, was centered around the theme “Under the Master’s Mandate” adapted from Luke 24:44. The rally is held once every two years and is a coordinated effort between the United Methodist Men of the Florida, Alabama/West Florida and Georgia conferences. Photo by J.A. Buchholz, Photo #04-0079.

South Georgia Conference Bishop B. Michael Watson, the first speaker, encouraged the men to share their love of Jesus Christ with other men.

"This is an empowering time," Watson said. "You can make a difference in the lives of men, other people. God has brought us together. We are called to rally for Jesus Christ."

Watson also reminded the men that they matter in the Kingdom of God and have a responsibility to share their love of Jesus Christ with the world.

Kentucky Conference Bishop James R. King Jr., the second featured speaker, said his father demonstrated to him on a daily basis what it meant to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He recalled how his father dropped out of school and worked on the family farm before moving to the city, where he became an entrepreneur, opening a dry cleaner, a real estate business and restaurant.

King remembered the power of seeing his father, a Methodist man, on his knees in prayer, and watching him be a leader in the church, as well as the community, impacted him.

"He shaped my life, as young men, boys, are being shaped by watching you," he said. "You can make a difference in those lives as you lead a life that shows Christ is the center of your life."

King said even though life can sometimes throw some hard punches it doesn't mean you have to be down for the count. He gave a brief summary of the movie "Seabiscuit" and how a stubborn horse trainer refused to give up on horse nobody wanted. The trainer said, "You don't throw a whole life away just because it's banged up a little bit."

"If you travel along life's highway, you're going to get banged up a little bit," King said. "All of us have problems to overcome, but it's time for us to stop surviving and start thriving. What is your desire? Your dream? Dust off your dream. That is your purpose statement in life. The Holy Spirit will move the stone that's blocking your dream. If you're hurting, you just have to speak up."

Men should not have too much pride to speak up and get the attention of Jesus, King said. "Jesus says ask and you will receive," he said. "It only takes faith. There's an old saying, 'One man who believes is greater than 99 who don't.' "

The last speaker before lunch was Dr. Tony Campolo, a nationally known author, educator and speaker, who challenged audience members to define themselves in a new way.

"You are the body of Christ. Christ is in you," he said. "You are not called to be Methodists, you are not called to be church members, you are called to be the body of Christ. It's being Jesus for the people. You must do whatever Jesus would do."

In addition to asking audience members to live out their faith, Campolo encouraged them to tap the "brightest and best" from their congregations to a life in ministry. He said the church is losing its future leaders to other vocations, such as business, medicine and law. He said while focusing on winning young people to the ministry, the remainder of the population can't be forgotten.

"Are you willing to do what you can? We've got to win people to Christ," he said. "There is a heaven, there is a hell, and there is a Christ. We must tell the world we love them."

The Rev. H. Eddie Fox said he loves the United Methodist Church. The director of World Methodist Evangelism was the last speaker of the day. He said his family is "eight generations Methodist," and he was committed to keeping the family tradition.

"I love this church," he said. "I believe it can be what God has called it to be. I believe we can be more, do more and become more. I'm going to stay with this train. I have not left this church. Nor has this church left me."

John Dowell, Florida Conference United Methodist Men president, said the men and women of the church were enriched by the event. He said even though bad weather prevented some people from attending, it was a good event.

"I'm looking forward to the next one," Dowell said. "It's always a good time to recharge our batteries, exchange ideas and have good fellowship."

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This article relates to Spiritual Formation.

*Wacht is director of Florida United Methodist Communications and managing editor
of e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.
**Buchholz is a staff writer for e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service.




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