Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Are You Listening to God?

This past Sunday my family and I visited Grace Church and if I had to guess it is not often that White Westerners visit there. So as in most places where I am, I stand out for my height, skin color, and large beard. Only this time I stood out even more because I had my 11 month old hanging off the front of me in one of those carriers. Yes, I am manly enough to wear my son on the front of me so back off, :).

Upon arrival the service had already started, but I immediately was greeted by the pastor who then asked me if I would like to share something. I had forgotten on the way to church that this will more than likely happen every time I visit a church so I should if nothing else have something prepared to say. I was also under the impression that he meant immediately share something so I thanked him for the offer and told him that I would love to share next week.

He then proceeds to sit me on stage right next to him because I have a baby attached to the front of me. I truly appreciated the gesture of my Christian brother, but I felt a little awkward as the congregation of about 50 are all sitting on the floor and here I am, first time visitor, sitting at the front of the church on the little platform in a chair, next to the pastor.

Either way sitting there I wasn't sure if I was sharing that Sunday or not so I started to think of some of my go to passages, my favorite Bible verse, something...anything. In the midst of singing I started to realize  that in the week leading up to attending this church that I had been so busy setting up our new house that I don't feel like I had really even been listening to whether or not the Spirit of God had spoken to me. Yes, I was daily in the Word, but thinking back over the week I believe I had done it more out of thinking it was my duty than to truly spend time with my Heavenly Father.

So there I am a seminary trained international church planter in one of the least reached areas of the world and I told the guy that I had nothing to share but maybe next week. I had a brief moment where I thought what in the world am I even doing here on the other side of the world?

In that moment God taught me what he had probably been trying to teach me all week, to stop, trust him, and really spend time with him to hear what he is trying to say to me.

So lesson learned and in regards to sharing next week, I learned that I am next weeks featured guest speaker so now instead of sharing a brief testimony I have the opportunity to preach at Grace Church in one of the least reached areas of the world. My plan, preach Jesus, make much of him and less of me!

1 comment:

  1. The same thing happened to me my first time there.

    I had gone on business to help open a new plant. The local pastor that has been facilitating our work there invited me during the weekend to see some of the churches that he had planted. A couple of Christian brothers from work came with me to see what Christian mission work might look like.

    At a Saturday night service the pastor asked if one of us would preach. Both the other fellows looked at me not having any training themselves. So I got up, prayed, and preached on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

    The next morning at another church, the same thing happened. I preached on something different, but I don't remember what it was.

    Sunday night he took us to a place where local pastors were in training. I was ready for something this time and preached a sermon to the pastors starting with John's use of "agape" and "phileo".

    Something about this, however: The Holy Spirit speaks to us primarily through the scriptures. He gives us the desire to learn the truth about God through his revelation. Each night I was surprised by an invitation to the pulpit, the Holy Spirit directed me to the scriptures I had already studied and knew well. When ministering to Muslims, the Holy Spirit directs me to the scriptures that I have already prepared. He prepares me through my regular study and my desire to make the truth known to people in a way that's meaningful for them.

    So, continue to study and don't fear surprises like an open pulpit. the Holy Spirit is not surprised and He will use your study today for that surprise tomorrow.