I had the privilege of speaking at our Women’s Ministry Christmas Social this past Saturday evening. We probably had around 40-50 women; a wonderful mixture of new faces and familiar faces. It was at the home of one of our long-time church members and she had her house decorated beautifully for the season. As is the case with all “everybody bring something” occasions, there was entirely too much food and every bit of it was fabulous…even the store bought cookies that I brought, still in their plastic bowl (don’t you love Costco?) The most exciting thing about this particular evening was that it happened to fall on the night before our first worship service in our new church building.
Several folks have asked me to post the words that I shared that evening here on my blog. I am happy to do that but, because I know there are two or three of you who read my blog who don’t go to my church, I thought I would give you the context in which my thoughts were formed first. Then, over the next few days, I will post the message that I shared last Saturday. For those of you who were there on Saturday, you will find that the actual message I shared that night was probably different in many ways than what I will write here. I cut some things out that night and I probably added some other things that I don’t even remember now. When you talk as fast as I do and you talk for 20 minutes….that is a whole lot of words!
For those of you who are not part of CPC, here is the story. Our church has been working towards this past Sunday morning for over 10 years. We started meeting in the rented space that we are now leaving in 1992. My understanding is that the new building discussions started shortly thereafter. My family arrived on the scene in 1997 and there was new building talk going on then. There have been many, many twists and turns in the story that have caused us to not be in our new building until December of 2005; some parts of the story I know, some I do not. And yes, if you are wondering, the analogy of the Israelites wandering in the desert for 40 years in search of the Promised Land has been suggested more than once. Suffice it to say that Sunday morning was a very emotional morning for our congregation and for our senior pastor who has led us to trust in God’s vision and God’s timing throughout this very long process. My goal with the ladies on Saturday night was to, hopefully, inspire them to look within their hearts to determine what it is that we as a congregation and we as individuals are going to do with this amazing tool for ministry…this incredible gift that God has given us. The idea is that God is always at work in us, preparing our hearts for the work that He has set aside exclusively for each one of us. What will it take for us to say Yes to God?
One last thing in terms of context: I was as nervous as I have ever been before I stood up there in front of those ladies, many of whom are my dear friends. I wasn’t nervous because I was unprepared. I wasn’t nervous because I lacked confidence. I was nervous because this was very, very important to me. I felt like God had given me an important assignment and I didn’t want to mess it up. Even though I know that God loves me no matter what I do, I wanted Him to be proud of me. So I asked LOTS of people to pray for me…and I tried to get out of God’s way. And you know what? It was a blast! I was way, way out of my comfort zone, completely dependent on God’s grace and my loved ones’ prayers. Beth Moore has a saying that perfectly describes my experience on Saturday evening…”There ain’t no high, like the Most High!” I pray that God will bless what I had to say in the hearts of those who listened, but I can tell you for sure that He blessed me in the process of preparing and delivering the message. Stay tuned!