Last night I watched the Today Shows’ one hour 2008 year in review special at it was quite good. A lot has happened in our country and in our world over the past year. A lot has happened to Melissa and I over the past year. We moved out of our friend’s spare bedroom into a row house in Covington, I changed jobs three times, we moved from Cincinnati to Georgia, we are expecting a baby! I wish that I could say that all of this was by my doing but it has only been by the faithfulness and protection of a loving God that I am sitting here today. God has provided for me and my family in ways that I cannot measure or count and I would be foolish to try. I have seen many prayers answered this year and it is my hope that many more are answered in the coming year. My church family at Velocity is on verge of something great and I trust that the words of Zechariah 4: 6 would hold true, ” I am the LORD All-Powerful. So don’t depend on your own power or strength, but on my Spirit.”
During our trip to see Melissa’s parents over this past weekend, a terrible accident occurred. My briefcase which contained my MacBook Pro fell out of the back of the Jeep we were riding when I opened up the trunk door to get something out. My briefcase fell right on my foot which helped to cushion the fall but nevertheless my Macbook suffered some damage. The top and bottom of the case is now bent and I am going to be taking it in on Friday to get it repaired at Micro Center. Please pray for my machine that it will get fixed quickly and painlessly.
In my Bible reading today, I came across a passage of scripture that I had not heard in sometime and when I read a certain OT professor of mine came racing into the forefront of my memory.
Rend your heart
and not your garments.
Return to the LORD your God,
for he is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and he relents from sending calamity. (Joel 1:13)
Dr James Smith would say this verse with such gusto that it has stuck in my mind ever since. Anyone who has ever had a class with Doc Smith knows how fired up he gets about the OT. This verse says something that we often forget today. God wants us to be broken and contrite and to approach him as such. He does not want us to make an outward display of repentance that only the masses can see. He wants our hearts to be broken and to return to him to mend them. Thank you to Doc Smith for teaching me and many of my former classmates and alumni of Florida Christian College to love the OT and to not be afraid to preach from it.
“After the wise men had gone, an angel from the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream…” (Matt 2:13)
I have never been one of those people who hears the voice God speak to them until recently. It seems that God is more interested in talking to me in my sleep and waking me up then me getting a full night’s rest. In the Bible there are countless stories of the men and women of God hearing from him through their dreams. For me, I wake up wide awake with ideas and thoughts that I had not been thinking about then I went to bed earlier that night. It is as if God knows that I am under a deadline to produce a sermon because he always seems to be speaking to me when I am working on message prep. Being a communicator of God’s word is not easy and requires a lot of time and work. Perhaps God speaking to me in the early hours of the morning is his way of blessing me and affirming what I am doing. I would not of expected that I would be a teaching pastor so early in my ministry career but I am starting to see that God has been preparing me for this role for some time. I know that I am not as polished as I would like to be and I have a lot to learn and improve upon but I feel that I am, perhaps for the first time, listening to the voice of God because he is speaking to me clearer than ever before. He who has ears let me here.!
There is not enough space or time to do justice to the eye-opening experience that we had yesterday as some of us from Velocity Church went to share food with the homeless in downtown Atlanta yesterday. My wife has a great recap of our experience and I wanted to give props to her. The thing that I witnessed that had the greatest impact on me was when I witnessed a man who was living under an overpass, who had just been given a meal from a local mission, took a biscuit from that meal and gave it to the pigeons who had gathered nearby. Here was a man who had nothing and he was willing to give up part of his food to feed some dirty pigeons! I complain that I have to give or sacrifice about anything and this guys just give his food away and to him that is no big deal! O how I wish that I could learn that lesson and apply it.