Living it Down

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It was an old fashioned silent auction. People from several states had assembled bringing items from their respective states to be auctioned to the highest bidder. The attendees were excited and eager to bid, aware that all the proceeds were going to benefit the E. Claude Gardner Scholarship fund, helping needy students be able to attend Freed Hardeman University. The room was a fun place to be. Live bluegrass music and the happy chatter of Christians (one of my favorite sounds) filled the air. I really couldn’t think of any place I’d rather be. As I was intently perusing the items and thinking about the price I wanted to bid on the half gallon of homemade sorghum syrup from Tennessee or the variety of jellies from Kentucky, I sidled up to my husband, put my arms through his and feeling of his fresh starched shirt, made the playful comment, “Oooo! Let’s dance.” I thought he was ignoring me (and it was really hurting my feelings), as I stopped looking at the wares and turned to him, making sure my eyes met his. This was the moment of truth; the moment reality smacked me right in the perception place; the moment I realized that I had spoken those three little words, not to my husband, but to someone else’s husband. I had just asked Eddy Gilpin to dance with me.
The fact that I never intended to dance with anyone (not even my husband) did not matter. The fact that they are close to the same build and my husband always wears that white starched shirt was even less consoling. The horror of being in the moment that will never be “lived down” consumed the blush in my cheeks. Turning pale, then three shades of red, I stammered, “Woops! You just really are NOT my husband!” He was not. He was the preacher that had just delivered an amazing lesson on how to build great churches and I had asked him to dance right there in front of lots of people from lots of states. My mistake was not lost on them, either!

That was my most embarrassing moment of the Christian Training Series, held each second full week in July, on the campus of Freed Hardeman University. Now I want to tell you about other moments of the week. There was the moment the President of FHU addressed the attendees and made me very thankful that the university is being led by a man who believes in the authority of the scriptures and the New Testament pattern for the worship and organization of the church. There was the moment when I heard the first of four excellent chapel presentations on New Testament worship by Stan Mitchell of the FHU Bible faculty. There were the moments when I heard numerous Christian women encouraging each other and making decisions to go home and implement things they had learned in order to make their congregations grow. There were lots of moments when I thought the singing could hardly be any better if we had already crossed through the pearly gates. There were the bus trips to restaurants and sweet times of fellowship. There were memorable moments of intense prayer and silly moments of laughing at corny jokes. There were amazing teacher workshops and luncheons centered on the Restoration Movement. There were very funny talent shows and games. These were all the moments that make up one of my favorite times of the year: CTS at FHU.

Now several readers have already indicated to me that they would love to have known about this week earlier in the year, so they could have planned to take off and participate. I hope if you are reading this now and you want to benefit from the best-kept secret in the brotherhood, you will go now to www.fhu.edu and click on the Christian Training Series. Go ahead and mark it on your calendar. Housing for the week is in very clean and comfortable rooms and apartments. The lectures and workshops are all in a very beautiful building and the fellowship is some of the best this side of heaven. The fee is likely the most nominal you will find for any program of this quality. Speakers and planners are very generous to largely donate time and talent to keep the costs down for those who attend.

You could go home next summer energized and ready to bring souls to the Lord. You could go and enjoy “living it up” with fellow-Christians who have the same upward focus. (Of course you could come home after living it up and realize you’ll forever be trying to live it down!)

***For the remainder of the month of July, this year’s lessons from CTS may be downloaded free of charge: www.clearcomconnect.com/cts2010
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