"He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation" (Mark 16:15).
Janet and I spent the morning at the National Missionary Convention of the independent Christian Churches, which is in Tulsa for the first time since 2001. We spent the morning in the first worship session with Mark Moore of Ozark Christian College speaking. Dr. Moore presented an academic sermon about Jesus' first public appearance as a celebrity preacher in his hometown synagogue. He gave some basic background information about historical biblical criticism and the Qumran community in an effort to better understand the context of the account and the emphasis of Jesus' message on that occasion.
Afterwards, we attended a workshop led by Stephanie Reed and her co-workers from Rapha House, a ministry in Cambodia which rehabilitates young women and girls who have been rescued from slave labor and sex slavery. Rapha works closely with International Justice Mission and local authorities who rescue the girls from the brothels. The workshop focused on the need to incorporate the pursuit of justice into missionary efforts. Some people need more than food, clothing, housing, and biblical teaching; they need to be rescued from those who are oppressing them.
Then, we looked through the area with booths from several domestic and international ministries. Janet bought t-shirts from Rapha House for all of us. Each shirt says, "Freedom Fighter: Stop Human Trafficking." (More information about Rapha House can be found at www.raphahouse.org and www.freedomforgirls.org.)
We are not sure whether we will return for the convention later this weekend, but it was another good experience. The convention runs through Sunday morning at the Tulsa Convention Center. You can find out more at www.nationalmissionaryconvention.org.