Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Midweek Moment

This past Sunday was something else! It has taken me several days to unpack it all, not just everything that happened, but the depth and significance of it all. As I have been putting all of the pieces together, it is becoming more and more apparent to me just how special worship was this past week. So special in fact, that I want everyone to know so we can thank God together.

It began on Monday. Monday is the day Pastor Debbie and I write our sermon. We stay home, so as to limit distractions, and we write. This past Monday I wrote my sermon, read it over, and had a feeling that something was missing. I tried to place my finger on it, but could not discern what was lacking. When that happens, my practice is to leave it alone for a day or two and just let it sit fallow. That gives me some time away and some space to let it breathe and usually when I come back with a fresh mind, I can see what I was previously missing. This time I came back late on Wednesday expecting to feel better about what I read but that feeling of omission was still prevalent. Being no closer to ascertaining what was causing this feeling, I put it away again. With the week quickly coming to an end, I tried again mid-morning on Thursday. As I came to the end of what I had prepared, it dawned on me. Finally! We needed to have a chance to remember our baptism during the service. After all, it was Baptism of the Lord Sunday and I was talking about Jesus’ baptism during the message.

My first thought was, at this late day in the week, there is no way to procure enough materials and coordinate 1,000 or so people moving around in worship. I tried to dismiss it as too hard, but we all know that there is nothing bigger than our God. So I got a hold of Brandon and shared with him what I was feeling and he volunteered to help make it happen. I got with Perk on Sunday morning and he helped finish up those last minute details that had to wait till then. The 8 o’clock service took place and it was great, but I had no idea that it was going to get better. We started our 9:30 service and I could tell something was different. It was not till I got up front to preach, and I could see the space that I realized we were FULL. Ran out of bulletins, bring out extra chairs, ask people to scooch in together type of full. Later I found out we set an attendance record of 326 people. It was the second most people we had ever had at that service! WOW!

With an excitement in my soul for all that had already taken place that morning, I then moved back over the Sanctuary for our final service of the morning. As we were singing our opening hymn, I noticed the ushers were seating people in the chapel. We had reached capacity. (More on that in a minute.)

You see God had asked me to do something in worship, create space for our baptisms to be remembered. I had fought the idea, but with the help of our amazing church and staff we made it happen. What I did not know at the time I was pushing back against this idea from God, was that God was going to deliver 1,150 people to us on that Sunday. And the reason that is important was because of the impact that time of remembrance had on them. Not only did I witness the emotion on people’s faces as they came and reached in the water to retrieved their stone, person after person came to me after each service and talked about their rock. They shared with me what they felt during those moments and told me how much that time meant to them. One person even told me it was the anniversary of their own baptism and they had been reflecting on it before they arrived at church. They described that time with God, reaching into the water and collecting their stone, as the icing on the cake. God did something amazing that day, and we all got to be a part of it!

Now back to the overflow seating at our 11 o’clock service. There were two families that were seated in there together. They did not know each other before hand and after worship the two mothers began talking. One asked the other about their young son. She had noticed he did not talk much. The mother of the child expressed there was some difficulty with his speech. The one that asked the question revealed at that point that she was a speech therapist. Can you believe it!?! Out of all the families that were there Sunday, God orchestrated it for those two to sit together so that young family would experience hope and find the person they needed to help them. What an awesome God!

As I continue to think and reflect on Sunday, I find more and more of God at work. My friends, God will come to us and ask us to do things for the Kingdom. I want to encourage you to find a way to say “yes”. For when we say “yes”, days like Sunday happen. For when we say “yes”, the Holy Spirit will show up and show us that vastness that is our God. For when we say “yes”, we are opening the door for God to come and change this world and bring us all closer to the one that loved us first! Thanks for being a part of Sunday and I look forward to many, many more with you all!

Have a great week!

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