Saturday, August 11, 2012

Our First Sunday at our New Location!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This blog post is courtesy of Taryn, who was wonderful enough to post about it on her own blog, as I was the sick prayer director/greeter, who ended up just sneaking in for a few minutes, barely, to see it all.  Thanks, Taryn!

It was after 10pm when we left the church last night, hoping we had as much as possible prepared for worship this morning. In the night, we were awakened by thunder and lightning and rain (Praise God!) at 1:45. Also during the wee hours, a family's little boy was hospitalized for recurring seizures, and we were awakened with texts from Pastor Todd that he was stable but being transferred to the children's hospital in Peoria. That also meant our children's director and some of the teachers wouldn't be there today, because they are the little guy's family, and Pastor Todd would be going on next to no sleep, as he went to the hospital at 5am this morning.

So, while we were excited about our first morning in the new building, our hearts were heavy for our little friend in the hospital and so many other physical and emotional struggles going on within our church family. We were exhausted from working so hard physically this week. But, we recognize that we are in a fight. Satan doesn't want another church in town preaching and praising and worshipping Jesus. Our excitement and love for God is much stronger than the devil!

So, we got up at 5am and we did church! Jeremy was there by 6:30, I think, making sure the building was clean and things were ready for people to come in. I took Caeden in at 7:30 for praise band practice.

Things were not "perfect." Our drummer was sick, so we had only one keyboard and one guitar and 4 singers...which is still plenty enough to lift praise. Our prayer director, who is also a greeter, had become sick in the night, and wasn't able to be there to lead our pre-service prayer time...But we still prayed, and God was with us!

We let God lead the way He wanted to service to go, including Angela being prompted to add in the "old" song Holy Ground and reading of much of 2 Chronicles 6-7 as we, in a way, dedicated the temple to the Lord today.

We still have a lot of chairs to fill. There were nearly as many in the children's area as in the sanctuary today. But, it is not about the numbers of people; it is about lives changing.

God is working out amazing stories in lives of this church, and in the lives of those we know and love. We are privileged to be a part of His plan! It is exciting!
Even while we work hard on the details of planting a church, we work hard at the personal things--prayer, worship, ministering to the sick and hurting, helping those in need, having fun together, studying the Bible, reaching out to others...these are what the church really does, the most important things.

We all knew the Holy Spirit was with us this morning. He comforted us, gave us joy and peace, made us glad, and reminded us that He keeps His promises. We had a beautiful time of worship and learning and prayer together.

Our announcement time turned into an impromptu launch team meeting after church. We all received PoC pens, invitation business cards, and flyers about 3 fundraisers we're having this week. Though we've been able to accomplish a lot, there is still a great deal to do.

“But will God indeed dwell with man on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you, how much less this house that I have built! 19 Yet have regard to the prayer of your servant and to his plea, O Lord my God, listening to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays before you, 20 that your eyes may be open day and night toward this house, the place where you have promised to set your name, that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place. 21 And listen to the pleas of your servant and of your people Israel, when they pray toward this place. And listen from heaven your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive."
- 2 Chronicles 6:18-21


Have you ever heard God calling you to do something, but then you weren't so sure? "Is that a yes Lord, or a no?" And if you find yourself having to ask this several times, it could quite possibly be that God is indeed giving you a resounding answer, one way or another... Or maybe, somehow, the answer is both. Maybe it's "worse" than a yes or a no.

Maybe it's a yes, but wait.


Why would God give someone an instruction or next step, and then say wait? Surely it must be a mistake. Biblically, though, waiting on the Lord is not unheard of, and it works out in our favor. (Doesn't anything, if done God's way, work out in our favor???) In Isaiah 40:31 it says "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (KJV). That's right, I went old school with the King James Version ;)...

This verse kept going through my mind while at the Prayer Conference this last Thursday and Friday. (Blog post on that coming soon!)  And I felt pretty peaceful, despite no obvious next step. How could I feel so at peace with waiting? Have I been waiting on a next step in frustration, and God has been trying to get through to my thick skull, "Woman, your next step is to wait!!! I can't give you a next step to say yes to until you say yes to waiting!!!"

The regular me would not be okay with this. How can I be at peace with this??? How??? Here's how: the best kind of waiting - the kind that produces strength - is waiting on and for and with God. Don't wait by yourself, alone, for God to re-emerge. Wait with Him, in His presence, for renewed hope, strength, and power.

Power? Yes - power. Just ask the disciples. They encountered a big "1...2...3...Wait!" moment. At the end of Matthew we read in chapter 28:19-20 about how they were to go and make disciples: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (ESV). Yet, at the beginning of Acts we read "And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, 'you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now'." (Acts 1:4-5, ESV). [emphasis added]

If the disciples, in all their excitement, hadn't waited, but had proceeded onward without the power of the Holy Spirit, what would they have accomplished? A whole lot of flimsy nothing in their own strength... Not only would they have failed at the task they had been given, they would have been downright disobedient. And, they would have missed out on the promise given at the end of Matthew 28 - "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (God's promises and commands seem to go hand in hand... hmmm...) It's a good thing they waited!!!

If they can wait, so can I... and so can you. The same God who is so faithful to call, so faithful to instruct, and just... so faithful... can manage to let you know when to wait, when to move, and at what speed.

Alright, I'm waiting Lord! I don't like it! But... your ways are not my ways and your thoughts are not my thoughts.

Psalm 27:14 "Wait for the LORD; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!"

Psalm 37:7 "Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices."


Be looking for a blog post re-capping the latest PoC excitement:  we had our first Sunday last weekend in our own space at the IBEW as well as PoC at the Prayer Conference in Springfield, IL last Thursday and Friday!!!