Last Sunday night we had an amazing worship experience here at First Baptist Church. We had the honor and privilege of hosting a Community Unity Service. Members of different churches from all over Seymour, Indiana came together on the campus of FBC to celebrate the work and person of Jesus Christ. The intent of the service was to put aside the things that divide us, in order that we might focus on reaching our community with the thing that unites us.
The atmosphere in the church was electric. As I walked around the sanctuary greeting people before the service began, the energy and excitement was palpable. The people were ready to sing songs of worship, hear the Word of God preached, and interact with brothers and sisters from other churches in the community. As we made our way through the service, the energy in the pews was released. The people sang with passion, as if they really believed what they were singing. A wall of sound came from the congregation and washed over the band on the stage. I have never preached a sermon to a more responsive crowd. I’m used to the occasional “amen” during a sermon, but during this sermon people were full of “amen’s,” “come on now’s,” and one gentleman even stood up and shouted “THAT’S RIGHT BUDDY!” It was absolutely amazing! I loved it!
I knew in that moment that his words had come from the Lord for me.
At the conclusion of the service, we had a reception down in the Fellowship Center. As we mixed and mingled, a gentleman came up and greeted me. He said, “Sir, you don’t know me and I don’t really know you, but I believe the Lord has given me a word for you.” I’m all about bringing various churches together, but doing so requires a certain level of grace and understanding of different practices and perspectives. To be completely honest, my inner Baptist began squirming, and my inner skeptic was screaming, “HERE WE GO!” At the same time another voice was telling me, “Chill out and see what this man has to say…” So, I invited the man to share the word with me. He said, “The Lord says, ‘The dry bones will rise,” then the man turned around and walked away. He gave no qualification or explanation, but he didn’t have to. I knew in that moment that his words had come from the Lord for me.
He couldn’t have spoken more appropriate words. From the time the Lord led me to pursue a Lead Pastor position, Ezekiel 37 has been a source of vision and inspiration for me. I believe firmly that it is God’s desire to breathe the same life into the tired, dry bones of many of our churches today that He breathed into His people Israel. But, I have moments of doubt and discouragement; moments when I question my call and competence. Yesterday happened to be one of those moments. In the midst of my questioning and skepticism, God sent a stranger into my life with the exact message I needed to hear in that moment. I believe, with all of my heart, that the Holy Spirit laid those words on that man’s heart for me. What’s scary is I could have easily missed it.
The truth is the God that spoke in the Scriptures is still speaking to us today.
I wonder how many times I have begged for God to reveal Himself or to speak to me or move in my life, only to explain it away when He does. In the information age, it is so easy to overlook the supernatural. It is too easy to write off inexplicable instances as mere coincidence. But, the Bible is full of circumstances and situations that go beyond our intellectual capacity into what can only be accepted and understood by faith. It’s easy for us to talk about faith, but it’s much more difficult to live and filter life through it. The truth is the God that spoke in the Scriptures is still speaking to us today. The God who performed miracles in the Bible is still performing miracles today. My hope is that I have a deep enough understanding of God’s Word, and enough faith in the God who provided it, to recognize when God is moving in my life.