So, I tried this last night.
Lets hope this one works out better.
Its been a while since I’ve been able to post, so here is the recap.
World Changers 2007. Florence, Alabama.
It wasn’t really the trip itself that had a lasting impression on me.
It was the phone call that I received my first night there.
You hate getting calls like that.
A friend of mine from the University was killed in a car accident along with 3 other 20-somethings that were on a break from serving at a youth camp.
No, we weren’t exceptionally close, but we did serve together once.
And I can honestly say that there were few people more devoted to evangelism than Michael Mabry.
That’s probably the hardest thing to understand.
A bright young mind energetic in his service just taken from friends and family with no warning.
Tragedy aside, it was a great funeral.
If such a word can be used to describe funerals.
We have no guarantee of tomorrow.
Today should count for everything.
Because, really, everything is at stake.
Everyday is a gift. Earn it. And be grateful for it.
Yes, even the bad days.
Bridges 2007. Coaling, Alabama.
Macedonia youth. Coaling youth.
A single unifying weekend.
To be honest, I didn’t expect it to be huge.
I just wanted God to show up.
I just wanted to give my youth a good trip.
Little did I know that God was going to show up.
In a VERY personal way.
All the messages. All the small group studies. All the worship.
It all tied together.
It wasn’t planned together.
It must have been completely orchestrated by His hand.
My sermon for Sunday morning was prepared weeks in advance for a different service at Macedonia.
But God had intended to use it at Coaling.
And it made way more sense there at that time.
God doesn’t always reveal Himself in big ways.
Sometimes He shows himself an invitational hymn selection.
Or words of affirmation from a mentor pastor and respected former pastor who has been preaching for 70+ years.
And perhaps even in conversations with the guys on a van.
He has a way of letting us know when we’re following Him.
Have you ever stopped to consider what it means to be born again?
I get tired of the same old cliches.
Which, I guess, is why they’re cliches.
Here’s a new spin, or at least new to me.
We’ve all heard it said that it is better to mourn at birth and celebrate at death.
So lets apply that principle to Christianity, and spiritual rebirth.
Why are we to mourn a birth?
Because the child is entering a world of tragedy, trials, and pain.
When we accept Christ as savior, the world around us becomes something else.
Can anyone tell me that since accepting Christ, life has not been more trying?
Maybe its just me.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Life in Christ is joyful, abundant, peaceful.
But it is not easy.
And death can be viewed the same as the natural.
Because a saved-by-grace sinner has entered the arms of his maker.
Because the pain is over. The strife is over. The tears don’t flow anymore.
You can’t ask a group of youth what image they get when thinking of the phrase “born again.”
They will snicker, and you will have to rephrase the question.
God places us in incredible places. At incredible times. With incredible people.
My church threw a house warming for me.
And I was caught completely off guard.
I really don’t think they could realize how much it means to me that they have completely opened their doors to me and let me in.
As I was in the back of the fellowship hall, looking at all the gifts laid out on the table, someone came up to me and said, “looks like you’ve got everything you need here…except for a wife.”
To which I replied, “who was supposed to bring her?”
I should really get on the ball about the whole marriage thing.
Its something I desire. Greatly.
Everything else is going well for me.
I’ve got great jobs, both at Jacobs and Macedonia.
And I just bought a house.
Its a bigger house than I really need.
And I do get lonely here often.
But when it comes to getting married, I don’t guess its that much of a rush.
The time will come if I’m faithful.
I’m just curious to find out who the next girl to give me the “friends” speech will be.
Or if it will be another 7 page letter.
Maybe I’m not confident enough.
Maybe I’m too cynical.
Maybe I’m saying too much about this…
Which brings us to tonight.
The woman at the well.
Two quick points, then I’m off to bed.
1. Our secrets enslave and alienate us.
2. God loves us despite our secrets and mistakes.
I have many secrets. I have many mistakes.
Some I still feel guilt over, though already forgiven.
Some I have begun to share openly with people.
You’d be surprised how much that takes off of you.
That’s always one less thing that Satan can hold over you.
Truth can be liberating.
Even when it isn’t easy to speak.
But then again, who said any of this was easy?
After all, we’re all still learning along the way, aren’t we?