Opening Service - Thursday
The 47th Annual Convention of the Lutheran Women’s Missionary Society (LWMS) began with a worship of praise and thankfulness to the Triune God. More than 1,500 people attended the communion service held at Frontier Airlines Center and more than $27,000 was collected during the offering. Jeffrey Mahnke, pastoral advisor to the LWMS Board of Directors, conducted the service and Mark Schroeder, president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS), gave the sermon based upon the convention theme.
President Schroeder compared Christians who carry out the Great Commission with astronauts traveling in space. Just as the astronauts need special skills—the right stuff—to carry out their work, so Christians need special skills to carry on God’s work. Unlike the astronauts, however, Christians don’t need to worry whether or not they have the necessary skills—God provides them to us.
Despite three years spent listening to and learning from Jesus, the disciples’ faith was weak and they lacked confidence, but God gave that weak, frail, doubting, fault-filled group an amazing task. As surely as he gave them the task, God gave the disciples exactly what was needed to do the job—the right stuff. Jesus gave them a powerful message, along with unshakeable, unbreakable promises to be with them and strengthen them. The Great Commission has been handed down to us and is also our mission statement; it keeps us focused on the work to be done. The message—“whatever I have taught you”—is the truth about the eternal condemnation we all face under the law followed by the sweet message of Jesus, our Savior, who died on the cross as a substitute for us, earning us the free gift of salvation. God also opens doors to opportunities to carry out the task.
Just as Jesus’ disciples proclaimed the gospel in villages and communities in Israel, then began preaching to Gentiles across the known world, so we are to joyfully carry out the mission. Despite the challenges thrown into our paths by the devil and the sinful world, we know that we have the blessings of God and are empowered with the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. We are to carry the gospel message throughout the world—and we will one day meet hundreds and thousands of people who have also heard that message and believed—at the foot of the throne of God.