Monday, January 28, 2008
You better be careful what you teach or you just might find yourself being tested.
At the end of another incredible worship service yesterday (another huge crowd, 2 baptisms, 5 people asking Jesus into their heart), I got news of a couple of things. One person backed into another car in the parking lot. Another person got bad news about their job and some health issues. React or Respond?
See that was one of the points in my message yesterday. When things get wacky, how does your faith play out in your life? Do you react and freak out or do you respond with confidence (faith)?
So I'm driving along this morning and my Jeep starts making a weird noise and smoking. Respond or React Doug? I have to confess that I did get impatient with my wife when I called her then I just started asking God to help me find the part I needed to fix it. Several phone calls, a trip to the other side of the county, $45, five hours later, the Jeep is great.
So What? If you can't practice what you preach, don't. If you want to really experience God's best, hang on. It is not always going to be smooth sailing. And one more thing, the stuff you learn in the Bible really can help you in real life.
BTW...you can listen to the enitre message on our web site, www.midtownechurch.com.
Monday, January 21, 2008
I really wasn't even sure he would fit. I mean, his shoulders are probably 50 inches wide. He is a huge guy! I wasn't so concerned about his height. I knew we could move him way forward and take care of that. But the shoulders...not too sure.
He climbed in the portable baptistery and I introduced him to the huge crowd that had gathered for our third service. I noticed that the room was full again and the "extra" chairs had been brought in. I briefly described baptism and began to send him down when it happened. Oh he fit just fine. But he threw himself back with such velocity that the largest wave I have ever seen in a baptistery was created! The water hit the back of the tub so hard that it curled back up and splashed me in the face. It poured out of the tub and hit the wall of the building some 10 feet away! What fun!
Just our third service and another baptism. For those who are counting, that makes 5 plus the one from our first preview service.
I am once again amazed by what God is doing. He keeps sending people our way and we keep sharing His love with them. They respond and commit. And now we have the awesome responsibility of growing them in their relationship with God. I knew it would take time and a lot of hard work. No problem there. I guess I just wasn't expecting the need for space so quickly. For get putting signs on classroom doors. We keep moving them each week.
What a great problem. What great fun. What a great splash.
Monday, January 14, 2008
This time is was 9:47am. I guess I was a little more uptight and expecting a let down after the huge launch. I also was not running around getting last minute things done this week (a huge credit to our awesome volunteers). But when I looked at my clock, it was 9:47 and there were not many people in the room. Again, that sinking feeling.
As the music started and I made my way in to the Worship Center, something odd happened. It was as if God said, "It's cool. Don't worry. I got this." The funny thing is, I know all that, but I just needed a reminder. God's cool like that.
When I got up to welcome everyone I saw it. When I looked out from the stage into the seats it had happened. God did it again. The place was packed! Now the average person may not have noticed. Even those who were there last week may not have noticed because we had moved the back "wall" back about 20 feet. But when I got the report during the next song that we were once again out of chairs even after getting more chairs during the week, I was overcome. I felt my knees buckle and I sobbed. God had brought more people to hear about His love.
I am so glad it's not about me. I am so glad it's not about a building, music, a person, or a program. It's all about God's love and grace.
I pray He does it again. And again, and again, and again...
Monday, January 7, 2008
It was 9:52 am. I know because I looked at the clock on my phone and asked our worship leader, Kenny, what time it was. I wanted to know because there were only about 30 people sitting in the Worship Center. I asked, "Where is everybody?" He asked if I had been in the Coffee Shop so I headed that way.
When I got there, it was packed! I made my way to the doorway and looked down the hall and there was a never ending river of people coming in! I scrambled back to the Worship Center where I was asked, "Should we put out more chairs?" because by that time all the people in the Coffee Shop had moved in to the Worship Center. I said, "Not yet." and kept moving to my seat on the front row. When I got to my seat, the band was halfway through the first song and I looked to the back of the room and saw tons of people standing. Needless to say, our volunteers were putting out more chairs.
By the time it was all said and done, there were no more chairs to be found and there were plenty of people still standing. The band was great. The technical stuff worked perfectly. I even did pretty good with the message.
I confessed that morning that I feared the worst even though I prayed for the best. For some reason in the back of my mind I thought that maybe no one would show and at 9:52 I feared I was right.
It was 11:37 am. A few of the Launch Team members and I were sitting in the Worship Center in awe of what had just happened. We asked God to overwhelm us and He did.
We have launched.