Humility served with Grace…
Friendship Church has been growing like crazy lately and I must be honest in saying that I’ve taken a great deal of joy in it. I’m fairly certain I’ve been able to steer clear of pride or taking undue credit, but I’m pretty sure that yesterday was God’s gentle preemptive strike on any pride that might be flaring up inside of me.
I drove up to the church yesterday around 7:30am. I had already visited my local Starbucks and had a pleasant conversation with a couple of the barista’s that I know. I was looking forward to having just a tremendous morning worshiping unhindered with my Friendship Church family.
You know that feeling that you get when you know something is about to happen? Yeah, I didn’t get that feeling, but something sure did happen! In fact, a whole bunch of things happened! Without going into detail, not an awful lot went according to plan. I grabbed the guys that were there already, and said in my most confident voice, “Guys, when things like this happen we can be certain that God is up to something great! Our job is just to be flexible.” I truly meant it, I’d been here before, but it didn’t stop my heart from beating a little bit faster.
I went to my office and read through my notes and Scripture passages one more time and then I began to pray for the morning. I prayed for my family, the families of all the ministry leaders who were on for the day, I prayed for the band, ushers, greeters, coffee team, kids volunteers, and every body else I could think of. As I was praying I felt my voice crack, just ever so slightly. I’ve been struggling with my sinuses for over a week and my head felt like it was about to explode. So, I prayed for myself, that I’d be able to think clearly, to communicate with energy and enthusiasm.
As I walked out of my office for our morning prayer/pep-talk with all of our volunteers, I could literally feel the heaviness of the spiritual battle that was taking place. I sensed that something was going on, I just couldn’t put my finger on it, and still can’t. We all gathered together and I told them the same thing that I had told the guys earlier and we all prayed together.
As the service began there were a lot of empty seats, and that old fear began to creep back into the back of my mind. I had just sent out an e-mail telling people how great things had been going, what they could do to help us continue to grow like parking on the grass, sitting in different spots, etc… And, now our attendance was going to be low, “I’m going to look like and idiot” I thought.
Just then it hit me, now it wasn’t an audible voice but I heard it just as if it was. “Do you see how fragile ‘your’ success is? With just a few sick children, a couple of families that stayed up too late last night, an alarm clock or two that didn’t go off, and the numbers are all gone. Remember, it is only with ME that all things are possible.”
At that moment I thanked God for all He has done for us, and will do for us. I confessed any potential pride that was welling up inside of me, and I simply prayed that somehow, in some way that the message and the music would make an impact in someone’s life.
When I got up to speak, I was stunned. No, not every seat was filled and we were down a little bit, but what I saw was that God had already worked even before I said a word. My message was certainly not the best, my head is still throbbing and I’m pretty sure I lost my train of thought more than once, but I’m also certain that he used it, IN SPITE OF ME!
And there my friends was God serving me a little bit of humility with a side of grace…