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Sunday, April 20, 2003

Let's Play Three-A busy Easter for Eileen and I. We started out with a sunrise service at Bok Tower Gardens with about 2,000 people. Eileen was part of the Lake Wales Chorale that sung at the service, which was good if a bit liturgical. A conservative Presbyterian pastor from the church that sponsors the Chorale gave the meditations, which was a spot-on message of Jesus being the way, the truth and the light; that's the answer to Pilate's question that echo in the post-modern age-"What is truth?". One line that stuck with me was his mentioning a C.S. Lewis story where he talked with a agnostic who thought that his hope of heaven was wishful thinking; Lewis replied that his hope that God wouldn't punish him for his disbelief was wishful thinking. We then headed over to Lakeland for our regular Vineyard service. Eileen and I were helping out at the welcome desk, handing out bulletins, newcomer packages (if you like praise music, take in a Vineyard service, we give out CDs in the welcome package) and keeping the desk stocked with blank name tags. However, my tag didn't want to stick to my white dress shirt, losing three of them in the course of twenty minutes; I was doing a MC Hammer homage with "Too slick, too slick to stick." Pastor Dave gave a good sermon in Romans 11 on God's glory (stay tuned for tomorrow's Edifier for more) with a lot of ad-libbing for testimonies and ministry time; I felt Toronto had come south, with some uncontrolled laughter, shouts and a few bodies on the floor. After lunch with the Coeys (our finance class had the day off) and a well-earned nap (4:30 alarm for the sunrise service), we went over to Lakeland's Victory Church this evening for a Larnelle Harris concert. Victory is a textbook AoG megachurch, with a 3,000-seat sanctuary holding a pair of 20-by-30 TV screens, 30-member praise orchestra and an 100-member choir. That's what my sister's Christian Celebration Center would like to be when it grows up. We got there 40 minutes early for the no-ticket-love-offering concert and saw their announcements go Powerpointing on the big screens; a ministry for just about every demographic group; If you're not allergic to megachurches or evidential tongues and are in the Lakeland area, it might be a church worth checking out. The choir was professional-grade; with a full string section in its orchestra, they could do complex arraignments live rather than use Brooklyn Tabernacle karokies and with vocalist that that are top-shelf. Larnelle was Larnelle, both a great vocalist, showman and praise leader, but he left out a lot of stuff he could have performed from a 5-Grammy-12-Dove two-decade-long career. I'd of loved him to do I Miss My Time With You but he did do some show stoppers of Amen, O Happy Day and I Just Seen Jesus with a young gal from Victory Church taking the Sandi Patti part without losing a inch of quality. One doggoned good day.

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