Pastor Steve started a new sermon series this week – Unlovable: What God Loves About Us. Interesting……except I left service thinking, “What was that?”; “Not his best sermon”; “There was nothing in it for me.” Now before anyone thinks I am talking about Pastor, I already shared all this with him in his office 🙂 This blog will not come as a surprise to him. Actually, I refrained from writing it until I could talk to him face to face.
We learned on Sunday that we:
- are obsessed about our pasts
- our pasts prepare us for our future
- God is looking for our hearts
- God’s foreknowledge doesn’t determine our future
Pastor played a recording Sunday & I sat there wondering, “What is this?”. I cannot believe that I did not recognize that it was Keith Green. I love Keith Green. How did I forget this one?
I went home at the close of service. I had heard Pastor’s message & that is all it was – his message.
Until Tuesday night, when sitting in church with Lisa, Krisy & Jocelyn, I was setting up for women’s Bible Study……
…..and suddenly enters ***Clara**** (name changed to protect the innocent)…..
I opened the door thinking it was a new lady coming to Bible Study & quickly realized my mistake. She entered the foyer & announced,
“I need help”.
“I need money.”
I told her that I could take her name & phone number & have someone call her in the morning. At which she began to settle in & I realized, she was not leaving any time soon. For twenty minutes, she told me her “story” – of children in custody of the state, of a husband who was a drug addict & drunk, of homelessness, of getting a room to sleep in that was full of bed bugs, fleas & cockroaches. She shared of being caught in a system that offered no hope of change. While she shared, I prayed, “Lord, please do not let the girls come out!”
At one point in the conversation, she asked me where my purse was. I thought, “I am going to get robbed tonight”. But she went back into her rambling about her life. At another point, she nodded at my ring & said, “Those are nice rings you got there. Must have cost your honey a pretty penny. How about you get him down here to bring me some?” And I thought, “I am surely going to get robbed. Lord, please keep the girls out of sight!”.
She finally gave me her name & phone number. She stood & began to move to the door & with relief, I thought, she is going to leave. And then she said, “Thank you for listening. Can I give you a hug?”
As I moved towards her to hug her, I prayed, “Lord, You know how Your Word says You are a shield about me? Now would be a good time to be THAT shield. Please do not let any of those bugs she made mention of jump from her to me!”
She slipped out into the night & was gone.
I returned to the fellowship hall, knees shaking.
I awoke that night around 3AM & wondered, “Where is Clara? Is she sleeping out on the streets tonight?” She had asked me if I knew what it was like to be out on the streets. As I lay there in my comfortable & warm & clean & BUGLESS bed, I was thankful that I could not relate. But neither was I able to fall back asleep. I got up & went to the family room to read & pray. And that was when it began to hit me.
The words came back from the Keith Green recording that I had heard on Sunday:
“You weren’t one of those creepy people who used to come to the door, were you?”
I prayed, “Lord, please show me what it is I need to learn.”
As the time continued to pass & the sun came up, Pastor’s message became a living Word to me. Our human words will remain just that, words, until God by His Spirit comes & breathes His life into them.
“So is my word, that goes out from me mouth: It will not return to me to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire & achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV).
Today I am grateful that Clara showed up at the door. God has unique ways of working in our lives; of separating goats & sheep.
Funny to me, too, if I were asked today what my favorite sermon is that I have heard Pastor speak, it would definitely be the one I heard on Sunday. It will always be remembered. It is now a living Word.