And in rehashing and remembering yesterday, I realize (Have you noticed all the “re” words so far? I think I’m turning Baptist!) that the most interesting moments happened on the periphery of the worship service itself. The side comments, the breathless “let me tell you what happened,” lobby conversations, the people you see whom you didn’t expect to see … all of which combined to make remembering the Sabbath uniquely, hilariously holy.
Here are some highlight clips from the opening of The Storm Before The Calm:
- A strong turnout from our new Zoar Road friends at the 8:30 service. While the worship format was no doubt different from they were used to at Zoar UMC, they seemed energized by the crowd, the message, and, yes, the music. In addition, the LifeGroup meeting on the Zoar Road campus had a lively first gathering with good attendance and positive attitudes all around.
- I received two hand-written notes during the morning. Many times, when someone hands me a piece of paper in the lobby on a Sunday morning, I think “Uh-oh. I said something offensive!” Not this time. Responding to the sermon, one said simply, “Thank you for making this NOT just a feel good church but a real good church” while the other one concluded with “I know one day a storm will come to my life — I will be prepared spiritually.” The sermon’s bottom line was what you prepare for, you prevail over.
- A young woman approached me in the lobby after one of the services and said, “I prayed in tongues for the first time this week. It’s all because of what this church taught me a couple of years ago. It was so intense when it happened.” That’s why we long for people to be awake to the Holy Spirit at Good Shepherd.
- I spoke openly about the role of LifeGroups in helping people grow into a living relationship with Jesus Christ, and then was grateful to see numbers of people crowding around our LifeGroup booth afterwards, seeking to get involved and make connections.
- During the 11:30 service I gave this line-as-lament: “Some of you know everything about the contestants on American Idol and nothing about the letters of Paul” and a friend called out in response, “Tell it!” So I did. Again.
- Also during the 11:30 service I received a text message. Now: my phone was in my office so it didn’t interrupt the flow. I only saw afterwards that it was sent at 11:49 a.m. Why do I tell you about a text message I didn’t even read until almost an hour later? Because my son Riley sent it to me just as Joey Hopper began singing “Two Sets Of Joneses” as a sermon-table-setter-solo. Why did Riley salute the song via that text message? Because every morning back in 1995, when I drove him to pre-school, I’d pop that song into the car’s cassette tape player and we’d sing it together. We even developed some of our own customized lyrics to it . . . though we’ll keep those within the family. Even before I got that text message from my son, the song choked me up at all three services as I remembered our little car rides together. So here’s Two Sets Of Joneses, originally recorded by the recently reunited Contemporary Christian Music stars Big Tent Revival:
You can watch yesterday’s service here.