Amazing!

I had the rich privilege Sunday of preaching at my own church.  Our pastor was on a mission trip to Kenya.  The Associate Pastor for Worship did his usual great job of planning music that undergirded the message and offered opportunity for response through singing our worship.

While preparing for this assignment I found myself praying over and again that the Lord would speak through His Word and minister to those present.  The closer I got to the hour of gathered worship the more inadequate I felt.  I became less and less confident in my grasp of the subject matter, and more and more aware of my reliance on the Holy Spirit for anything of significance to come out of this experience.  By the time the prelude for the service began I sat in the front pew praying that God would speak to someone, anyone in some way.

As the Worship Pastor led us in singing our worship my spirit was settled and I was edified through the congregation’s proclamation and praise, which underscored rich truth for the hour:

            “Jesus! What a strength in weakness!

            Let me hide myself in Him

           Tempted, tried, and sometimes failing

            He, my strength, my vict’ry wins.”

                                    (J. Wilbur Chapman – Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners)

 

I was singing along and recognizing God’s answer to my prayer.  He was speaking clearly TO ME.  I had prepared a sermon that deals with ways God ministers to us through congregational singing, and low and behold, here I was being ministered to as we sang.here was an answer to my prayer.  There was at least one person being ministered to in today’s worship.  Amazing! The Lord was speaking through the congregational singing to me, reminding me that I just needed to “hide myself in Him” and trust Him to be my “strength in weakness.”  

 

The revelation of God’s presence and work just kept coming.  Following the message, which sought to encourage congregational singing of worship, we sang the Robert Robinson hymn text to the NETTLETON tune, “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” and there seemed to be a marked sense of engagement in the singing.  I recognized that my view was one of external evidences, but I took heart in smiles, tears, and eye contact that I interpreted to be connection to the truth in the singing.  Amazing!  The Lord be praised!

 

Following the services person after person spoke and affirmed me regarding my message, but much more importantly revealed how the Lord had spoken to them by encouraging the power in their song as they participated in corporate worship singing.  I was humbled by these words and gestures of affirmation.  I was preparing to leave the sanctuary, which was empty except for two ladies who were walking my direction.  I noted that one walked a bit more feebly than the other, and a bit behind the one that approached me first, offering a firm handshake and broad smile.  She told me that the two of them were in town from Houston, TX.  They had come to Nashville for a recording project that her daughter was involved in, and drove by the church and decided they would attend Forest Hills because of its traditional structure and attractive grounds.  When they came in at 11am, they were surprised to find out a musician was preaching today (me).  She said that she brought her friend, Donna with her who had been a church pianist for 20 years.  She gestured her head toward the friend standing with her, who I then greeted with a handshake, and words of welcome.  The first lady quickly interrupted to explain to me that Donna had a stroke one year ago as did I.  In my sermon I had referenced my stroke, and gratitude for the Lord’s deliverance.  The three of us continued to chat and as Donna and I exchanged experiences big tears ran from their eyes at the same time I fought back those about to explode from mine.  We all three recognized that God had brought them there on this Lord’s Day so that Donna would be encouraged to continue her therapy, be strengthened in the patience needed to endure, and depart to continue her regimen with new vigor, which she said would now include playing piano more, even if it was only with her left hand, which still worked just fine (the right was still paralyzed).  Amazing!

 

God never ceases to amaze me at the ways He works in multiple directions all at once, and with such power.  Interestingly, all of these means of the Lord’s work were mentioned in the sermon material as ways He can and will work, especially through our singing.  I was the one presenting that message, and pointing out these things.  Even so, it still catches me by surprise, amazes me, and causes my spirit to soar when I realize that He has indeed been about His business in our midst.  Amazing!

 

 “The love of God, how rich and sure, how measureless, and strong!”  Truly Amazing!

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One Comment on “Amazing!”

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