I was in children's worship today, so I don't have a whole lot to say about "big church." I'll get to it in a little while.
In children's, our lesson was from Acts 14:8, the story where Paul and Barnabas travel to Lystra. Paul heals a man with crippled feet and the crowds want to sacrifice to him, believing that he is a god. So Paul says sure, has his devoted followers build him a big temple, and begins his own healing ministry, taking credit for it all himself. Had you going there for a minute, didn't I? No, seriously, Paul tells the people that he is only a man serving the one true God. This wins him no popularity, and by the end of the chapter he is stoned and left for dead. Now that's a happy ending for a children's story!
I was thinking about this story. So often in my life when things are really going well, I want to take all the credit and get all the glory for myself. If Paul had taken the credit for himself, he could have been famous and had a huge following. By giving God the credit, he got stoned (with rocks not drugs, hello.) However, it was only by pointing to God that he was able to further God's kingdom. He chose the right path, that was not the easiest path. That's what great men do.
Most of the time our choices boil down to furthering our own kingdom or furthering God's kingdom. I am embarrassed to admit just how often I am guilty of furthering my own kingdom. Often by default. I am so busy that I simply do what is easiest and requires the least amount of effort. I struggle with remembering to evaluate my choices.... instead acting on instinct.
So, back to services at The Crossroads. The lesson really struck a nerve with me. I am not sure that the children were really all that into it. The activities seemed a bit lame to me, and there was more whining than usual. However, we had fun and hopefully some of the lesson stuck with them.
I haven't heard a word about Shawn's sermon. I'm assuming it was good. It always is. I will look forward to listening to it later in the week at www.welcometothecrossroads.com under what's happening.
I did heard that worship was great. I heard parts of the set as the band was warming up. It seemed to be going well. I loved the new song they did, "Revelation Song." Tammie did a superb job with the female vocal on that one.
I am desperately miss playing with the band when I am in children's. However, don't misunderstand me here. Children's ministry is a vitally important part of The Crossroads. Children are extraordinarily valuable to God, and as such they are very valuable to us. Statistics tell us that we have the greatest opportunity to reach children with the gospel before they are 18. Me taking a turn at sharing God's love with the children once a month or so is definitely very important. And we are blessed in a young church plant to have enough volunteers that I only have to take a turn once a month. Many church plants are not that blessed. So I am not complaining about working with the children. God has blessed me every time by revealing Himself to me in huge and mighty ways through the Bible story. I can see His hand all over what I am doing. It is beautiful to watch Him bless my (at times reluctant) obedience.
It's just that somehow, in the span of a year or so, the band has become a valuable part of my life. It leaves a gap in my life to have to go a week without spending time with them, and entering into God's presence together. I miss us walking up to God's throne together and experiencing God's Spirit together. Even though they are worshipping without me, and I (in children's) am honestly worshipping without them, I miss them being a part of my worship experience. But how blessed am I to even have the opportunity to play with such an incredible group of people. How awesome is it to have a group of people that you are so used to worshipping with, that you miss them when you are not able to worship together. That's pretty cool, if you ask me!
On a more personal note, thanks to those of you who prayed for me this weekend. I am totally and completely exhausted from the emotional stress of having company on the last weekend of the school year. It's an insane season in my life in the best of times. However, the visit went better than usual, and I credit that to all of you who were praying. I have a crazy week ahead as I close out the school year. I am looking forward to getting my life back in just 5 more days!