The projector wasn’t working in the sanctuary. The freezer in our church kitchen had stopped working…again. The air conditioning in our cafe’ (9am service location) wasn’t coming on. Our media team person wasn’t going to show up (ok, it was Bella who forgot because she was missing church due to her being in the musical) and we had to scramble and ask someone else to run the slides. I introduced myself to someone who had been a member for years (but to my credit hadn’t been there for 3 years but it was embarrassing nonetheless). For some reason no one sat in the first two rows of tables so the room looked really odd. I prepared more for this sermon than most others and yet never felt in the flow as I presented it (This almost never happens). I did a seminar in between sermons and I felt like it was clunky and disjointed. I heard that a member of our church was disgruntled (I need to start saying that I’m ‘gruntled’ when things are fine) that we had made some changes to our praise platform/stage/altar whatever you want to call it. I understand complaints and embrace them…but now wasn’t the time. The projector miraculously worked but we couldn’t figure out why which left us in a state of, “when will it go?” During the 11am service as I was summarizing what a local missionary had said, I noticed a visitor almost straight glaring me from the back of the sanctuary. My mind went to the fact that I’ve been meaning to revise (basically create) our emergency response plan in the event that something violent would happen during our service. With that still in my mind I heard a loud shout of, “Wait a minute, you can’t do that!” It wasn’t the visitor (I realized as my heart exploded through my chest) but a long time member two people down from him who didn’t want that segment to end but wanted everyone to know about a fundraiser that the local missionary was having this coming Thursday. With all that being said, I doubled down and felt great about the second sermon.
MInd you, all of this is during a very crazy and busy time for my family. Rachel and the kids have been swamped with Odyssey of the Mind competitions, Rachel is working everyday again, Joe has started volleyball (and loves it), Rachel is our booster chairperson for volleyball, and busy busy busy everything. I always mandate that we don’t lead the life of “The Next Big Thing” production when you just want things to be over but then realize that life is passing you by…but it’s been a lot.
It’s mornings like I had yesterday that leave me wondering. Is God trying to tell me something or is the enemy trying to dissuade me? In the bible you will see both “The Lord kept me from…” and also “Satan put up a wall preventing me from…” Well, which is it? I have spoken with folks who admit that they lay awake at night wondering the same thing. Should they persevere and push through this roadblock? Should they wisely alter their course and seek another plan? Is it God or the Devil?
Rather than go on a 3 page dissertation that you would never finish reading I feel it has two answers. The first being that it doesn’t really matter. In mornings like I had yesterday (which I believe to be clearly from the enemy) the temptation is to flip out, be angry, be defeated, shut down, resort to your ugliest self. The opportunity is to stay close to God through His Holy Spirit, scramble, pray, adjust, and aggressively love and not give in to selfish, fleshy, reactive desires. In times of strife (for lack of a better word) the temptation to sin is always greater. Is it the enemy tempting you or God testing you? Either way, push to stay close to God and let Him sort things out.
The second answer lies in my first. The Holy Spirit. For those who have given their lives to Christ He has promised them His Spirit. Thus, more knowledge and wisdom (knowledge=tomato is a fruit, wisdom=don’t put it in a fruit salad) is within and available to you than you could ever imagine. Seek it, ask it, trust it, listen to it, and be obedient to it (that knowledge and wisdom). The Holy Spirit will never tell you to give up, flip out, hurt, cheat, steal, sabotage, scream or anything like that. Be still (if at all possible) and know that He is God.
Please know or remember that God tell us in Romans 8: 28, “All things work for the good of those who love Him.” Have confidence in knowing that it will work out as you continue to do what is good, what is right, what God calls you to do.
No, I haven’t cracked the atom and I haven’t solved carbon fusion but as simple as this is, I needed to be reminded of this yesterday.