Wednesday, June 9, 2010

How Come it's Not Easier to Know Where You are Going?

Sunday seems like a blur. I woke up with my regular dilemma: do I go to a church that is local with a short service so I can get something else done on Sunday, or drive over an hour each way and take my chances on being totally disconnected at a new church? I decided to start driving and see what God wanted to do. Either way I would be at church, and the distance/service times work, allowing me to be on time at either one.

As I started to drive, I was focusing the negatives - yeah, I have the problem. My thoughts went like this: "Nothing much has worked out since the move." I had sent an email to the new pastor, but he hadn't responded. "Maybe I missed it and last weeks blog was a false alarm." "Maybe just going to church and being faithful in that is enough for God and for me. I'm feeling pretty empty - I don't see how this is God." "I wish this new thing would work out."

*Flip on the Worship CD* Tim Hughes singing Oh Happy Day - I trail off into some deep groanings that I cannot express. Something is not right, but I don't now what it is. My groaning takes the form of prayer - prayer with intensity. *I miss the entrance the turn to my local church and take my foot of the accelerator* "Let's see what happens, God. I'll go north again." I flip the cruise control back on. *Great is the Lord on High comes on the CD player*

As I enter the Interstate I decide that I am going to pray like this for at least the next few songs. *Refuge in You rocks my little Honda* I keep praying. *Light the Fire Again, Let the River Flow and Trading My Sorrows play in succession.* And all of sudden the Lord speaks to me: "Keep praying, you'll need to be ready for an assignment this morning." I feel the strengthening in my spirit. I have no idea what is going to happen. I pass through a severe thunderstorm, lightening flashes all around, heavy winds and driving rain. Wow! I press in *the next song is Everything About You (Takes My Breath Away)* As the rain stops a few miles later, I just slow down to savor the presence of God. *That's Why We Praise Him comes on* As I'm driving though the little villages, passing farms and I just listening to the sound of Heaven. I turn the CD down low - and there is a wonderful sense of communion - the manifest presence of God.

I arrive at the church, shake hands with the greeter, swing by the powder room, and go in and grab a seat in one of the empty rows. There is a sort of shy kid that I sit with when I am there. We don't talk much, but I always look forward to seeing him. We have small talk about work, music, guitars and stuff like that. He did tell me a few promises that God made to him - ones that haven't happened yet. I tell him I'm wished that I lived closer so we could hang out and jam some time.

The worship was, well worshipful. There was sort of a "singing in the spirit" time which was really wonderful - an extension of my ride up. All during that time I had this weird feeling about being called up front by name. Was this the "assignment" for the morning? Puzzling. Hearing God's voice presents me with two problems: Was it Him? And what should I do if it was Him?

The pastor started his sermon after the announcement for the men's group Air Soft games next Saturday. Gratitude as a path to real praise. Hmmm... One of my online buddies wrote about being thankful last week. I decided that I would work on that because I really suck at it some times. I started making some Facebook posts that were positive - it's a hard habit to break even when things are going your way - "In spite of the gunfire in front of my house, no one was shot." Hey, it was a start.

OK, so I am convicted and I will start working on it (and after that, comes sarcasm which I guess is not a spiritual gift). I forgot about my "assignment" and settled in for part II of the sermon which was on the use of tongues in the church. Wow! I haven't heard that word used in years - and probably that was in relationship to the Acts chapter 2 story that took place on the Day of Pentecost.

I am paying attention as best I can. At least I am not Facebooking or sitting in the back row - I am doing better!

The sermon ended with questions and answers - an unusual format for a pretty good size church.

Having a lot to do to prepare for my daughter's college graduation party, I was ready to hit the road. And then it happened, the pastor called me up front by name to join the ministry team in praying for others. It was my assignment.

At some point I will tell some stories from this church - I just need a little time to assimilate what is going on.

I had a chance to chat with the pastor for a few minutes at the end and we parted with a high 5 or two. Jesus did some totally amazing things. It was very exciting.

It was so wonderful, the music that I played on the way up seemed so flat compared to the richness of the service. So, I just turned it off as I thanked God for the opportunity to serve him, for the presence of his Spirit and for the forgiveness of sins.

*I missed my exit on the way home*


Tracy said...

It both encourages my faith and makes me happy to read this post. It's an awesome thing to see God work.

photogr said...

I am so joyful that you have been recognized in this church and was called up to pray for others. Did you miss the turn or did God lead you to miss the turn? Sounds like a divine intervention to me. It also appears that God led the pastor to call your name up to pray for others.

On missing your exit on the way home, I think your head was still in the heavens. That would be understandable.

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