I have had a couple occasions to be in Michigan this past month to preach to teenagers. Michiganders are a unique breed. For starters, they inevitably explain where they live geographically in the state by holding up a hand. At first you think they are giving you some kind of a Native American greeting, but then they use the index finger of the opposite hand to point out the spot on the uplifted hand that represents where they live in Michigan, even if you don’t want to know!
Anyway, I had the privilege to preach at a youth retreat at Camp CoBeAc for my good friend Jeff Kahl. The Lord has used Jeff to do a remarkable job face-lifting the camp both aesthetically and numerically. The spiritual atmosphere is amazing as well! Always the innovator, Jeff recently launched the Walk Right Bible Institute, an intense Biblical studies program for high school graduates.
Just this past week I was again in Michigan, this time on the campus of Grace Baptist Church and College for their annual and marvelously attended (1,100 teens) teen spectacular. The Lord met with us in a wonderful way with dozens of teenagers trusting Christ as Savior and hundreds making tremendous decisions for Him. Because of an uncooperative flight schedule, my final message was all of 15 minutes! (Don’t get your hopes up, church members! I can assure you that was an anomaly.)
Even now I am returning from Baltimore, Maryland, where I finished preaching several nights for my dear friend, Scott Tewell. Scott is the pastor of Rosedale Baptist Church, a thriving church north of Baltimore. Not only has the church experienced astounding numerical growth under Pastor Tewell’s leadership (1,400 average), but also Rosedale possesses one of the greatest spirits of a church that I have encountered. Known for his passion for the Bible and expository preaching, Pastor Tewell has lovingly led the good people of Rosedale for the past 13 years. And the future looks glowingly bright with yet another building expansion in the works!