FGA Conference, Day 1: Ain’t No Coincidences…

I am in Dallas at the Free Grace Alliance national conference.  It was an interesting day to say the least, but God showed Himself in big ways. 

The day started pretty amazingly!  Laura dropped me off at the airport at about 5:30 and I had to do a special check on my bag through TSA.  No problem, and they handed my bag to a nice man named Samuel.  He had a beautiful voice and what sounded to me like an African accent, so I asked him where he was from.  “Oh, I am from central Africa” he replied.  When I pressed, he told me he was from Rwanda!  Not a minute later I noticed that his name was Samuel Ishimwe; Ishimwe is the Kinyarwanda word for “praise.”  I told him about our trip and desire to go back, and he told me in return that he was a pastor in town and a translator between English and Kinyarwanda.  He was very excited to hear about our plans and wants to help!  Coincidence?  Doubt it!

The flight was uneventful, but unbeknownst to me trouble was brewing.  I had never flown in to Dallas, so when I heard that the conference was at the airport I booked my flight from Phoenix to Dallas.  On Southwest.  Only after landing did I find out that Southwest doesn’t fly into DFW airport; they fly into Love field, which is 20 minutes away!  Well, in my desire not to pay $50 for a cab I caught a shuttle bus that was cheaper and would take longer.  I got to ride shotgun next to Thomas, who is from Nigeria and loves the Lord.  He has been here for 3 years and loves America, but wishes we had more heart for Christ and to reach people for Him.  Coincidence?  Doubt it!

I knew I was running late for the conference, but tried to keep a good attitude.  I got my room key and headed for the elevator.  The FIRST person aside from the front desk clerk that I saw was my good friend and mentor, Keith.  He gave me a huge hug and encouraged me greatly.  We spent the whole afternoon together, and through him I got to meet some important theologians I respect and admire.  Coincidence?  Doubt it!

The topic of this conference is “getting the gospel out.”  We had a plenary address this afternoon from Dr. Larry Moyer from Colossians 4:2-6 that we must have proper prayer (v.2-4), proper living, (v. 5) and proper speech (v. 6) to meet God’s call to share the gospel.  It was a fantastic time!  Also, Dr. Michael Eaton shared in the evening session on the topic of assurance and how the church grows the most when our assurance of eternal life is preached with conviction and passion.  It was a stirring talk as well, and I have been emboldened to pray and to preach with more conviction.  Coincidence?  I doubt it.

Wait, there is more!  In my email inbox when I got to the hotel room tonight, I got an email from a man working for Christian African Leadership Ministries who is developing a pastor training program to implement.  IN NORTHERN RWANDA.  No I am not joking.  And he asked if we could meet because a mutual friend said that we had been to Africa this summer (not specifically Rwanda)  Coincidence? I doubt it!

So as I hope you can see, God is at work in BIG ways today.  I am not sure how all the pieces fit together, but He definitely is putting some pieces in place for our desire to build up the church in Rwanda and serve them as part of our service to God.  All of this comes today in the context of being encouraged to spread the message of the grace of God in Christ freely and appropriately, which is amazing and very encouraging. 

So pray for me today that God keeps showing Himself and what He would have me do through my time here in Dallas.  It’s been a whirlwind day, and I am pretty darn excited about what is in store!

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