Monday, March 28, 2011
Well, I decided to listen to music as I walked this morning and it shuffled "Can't Get No Satisfaction" and "19th Nervous Breakdown" first. I had to laugh out loud. For "preacher-creatures" like me, Mondays can be toxic. We have a tendency to analyze everything that happens on Sunday with a hyper-critical eye. So any humor helps.
The last day of Spring Break 2011 has come and gone, and I'll be glad to get everyone back next weekend. In our post-multiple PCS state, we can really tell when some of our regular families aren't with us in worship. And with vacations, sickness, and whatever keeping people away, we're less than we could be. Still, I thought we had a pretty good day, all things considered. Our worship team stepped up and delivered on songs that we had trouble with in practice. "God of This City" is usually a New Hope favorite, but we just could not get it done Wednesday night. In fact I was 90% sure I would leave it out on Sunday. But after praying about it, even up to the last minute, I thought that we needed to sing it - that God would speak to us through it. So I asked everyone in the congregation to both pray and sing us through it. Thank God, it worked.
The songs were: Our God Is Greater (first time we've done it); Forever, God of This City, and Grace Flows Down. I thought the singers did well again and the band was really good at following them. Sean just blew me away on lead guitar on the first song. Just wow. If worship is bringing your best to present before God, then he did it!
We've been looking at John's gospel - specifically the portrait of the Messiah he tries to paint with the 7 "signs", and yesterday we looked at the man of Bethesda who Jesus asked "Do you want to be well?" All week long as I thought about the passage of Scripture, I kept seeing other people - people today - that over time found that their misery was more comfortable to them than the idea of change and healing. I also kept thinking that I had to make sure that the answer people walked away with wasn't a Tony Robbins like human potential message, but that the secret to change was reliance on Jesus. Hope that happened and some people were helped.
Be praying for New Hope as we go forward toward Easter.
Pray that we will have the opportunity to see people come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Pray that God will provide the resources we need to continue to minister to our community.
Pray that I will be able to balance family, school, substitute teaching, and my calling as pastor.
New Hope needs me to relieve some of the financial pressure by cutting the amount of compensation the church provides for my family to live here. We're operating on a shoestring and really need a change until God sends us more to work with. Without that change, we are going to face some tough choices that I don't want to have to make. So pray that I'll continue to do well in my teacher certification program, and that I'll get enough substitute work to contribute to New Hope's needs.
This is such a special place, and I serve alongside some amazing people. I truly do thank God every time I remember that. Even on Monday.