Easily the best part of last night was greeting the many friends who had made the effort to attend (though the food was good too!) Carol commented how thrilling it was to see the parking lot filling up as we neared 7:00 pm. In the reception area I kept turning around to find newcomers jostling through the crowd. In particular, I was especially encouraged by friends from the churches I have served at First Baptist Wheaton, Calvary Memorial Oak Park and Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church and from the two small groups to which Carol and I belong. I think the furthest traveler was from Champagne, Illinois, and the spread of support from so many and presence of several notable leaders was incredibly positive. On the way home Carol and I began many sentences: " Did you speak to so-and-so? How are they? Wasn't it marvelous they came!' Oh, Yeah! Seminary trustees, faculty, staff and students really added to the occasion too.
When I wrote the book: Preaching as Worship I gained a small team of six readers. They received copies of each draft chapter as it emerged and their comments proved invaluable (though sometimes I had to steel myself to read constructive criticism). Four of that team were present (the other two are in Canada and Washington!) I realized afresh how much I owed other people in my journey with this book. For me, one special moment occurred when someone who belonged to Calvary Memorial Church gave live testimony to one of the illustrations in the book. Spontaneously, she shared her story of what it is like when the preacher opens up sermon preparation to the wider fellowship and everyone grows in discipleship. It was a golden moment when I gave thanks that my book is not just blah! Thanks to all of you who were able to give support for my big evening especially to the seminary staff who excelled themselves in all the practical arrangements - floral decorations, delicious food, manning the bookstall, streaming the video, and ensuring fresh Starbucks coffee!