by Dr. Dave Coryell, Executive Director
The title of this blog does not refer to my own faithfulness. It refers to God and the trust we can place in Him. I will tell of my journey to Germany and Wales in four parts.
On April 18th I flew to Munich, Germany. I was then transported to Gunzenhausen for the annual Osterkonferenz (Easter Conference) where I was the keynote speaker. Osterkonferenz began decades ago when numerous small Christian Endeavor churches decided to come together for a conference on Easter weekend including workshops, worship and fellowship. It began small and eventually grew. Today nearly four thousand people attend the events that include a large exhibit hall, children’s programming, a traditional worship track, numerous workshops on relevant topics, scores of food trucks, and large venue worship times that are live-streamed to people watching around the globe. Pretty solid work by forty-eight small C.E. churches in Bavaria. God is faithful!
The first message I delivered spoke to this faithfulness. The conference theme was “The Whale, Jesus, and You” and had the aim of using the book of Jonah to deliver a relevant message for today. Jonah means “dove” in Hebrew. He was the son of Amittai which interestingly means “faithful.” Jonah was literally the faithful dove. I explained how God has an intricate database. This database includes all the skills, talents, personality traits, and experiences for each person alive. This database includes all of our strengths and deficiencies. He then chooses people suited to carry out His various tasks. There was no greater match to take words of warning to the Ninevites than his faithful dove, Jonah. What does God have in His database for you? Will you make yourself available to carry out His mission?
God used this message to launch into several days of networking, long conversations with young people about spiritual things, a powerful Easter morning celebration and then finally Monday morning’s concluding message. First the leader of C.E. Bavaria, Samuel Haubner, spoke a message thanking God for His faithfulness over the last one hundred years. This centennial celebration was an opportunity to give thanks for all He had done. Then a song was sung before it was my turn to share. I finished teaching on Jonah which ends with Jonah’s remorse due to God sparing the repentant Ninevites. Most people walk away from Jonah and believe that the Bible’s Ninevite story ends there. However, one hundred years later, the prophet Nahum speaks to the Ninevites again because they had returned to their evil practices. Nahum warns that the Ninevites would be totally destroyed. The wall surrounding Nineveh was believed to be one hundred feet high and nearly fifty feet thick. This wall had a circumference according to some historians of 85 miles. The Ninevites believed their wall was virtually indestructible! Forty years after Nahum’s prophecy, the Tigris river flooded its banks and left a huge hole in the mighty wall. The Medes and Persians then combined forces and annihilated the Ninevites before carrying away every last stone. For centuries Nineveh was believed to be mythological along the same lines as the lost city of Atlantis. In 1845 remnants of the city were discovered. I shared this with the people and then asked- what will people say about Osterkonferenz’s centennial anniversary? Will they look back and say that this was their greatest hour before the spiritual pulse of the Bavarians began to wane? Or would they say that Osterkonferenz 2019 was the beginning of a new spark that lit a fire to grow the Kingdom of God for His glory to unprecedented levels? The message concluded with a call for people to enter missionary service. By God’s grace at least forty people responded to that challenge. An older woman later that day with tears forming in her eyes looked at me and shared in her broken English, “Over three thousand missionaries were called to service through Christian Endeavor in Germany . . . But we had stopped challenging young people to serve! Thank you for bringing the challenge again.”
We must not stop! Call young people to serve. God is faithful on this journey called life. He has a mission for us to fulfill. He is going to His database to look for those who will carry it out. Will you be His faithful dove? Will you be available?