Before & After
Sunday’s worship service had the potential to be the worst of the 4 gatherings we’ve had. Going into the first song, my spirit was not right. I mean, where are all the people who’ve been coming out or who we are walking with during the week, etc, etc, etc. Then Clete, in beautiful pastoral fashion, drew our attention to the reason we gather – making much of Jesus. He said that if we were down because of who was not there then our focus & source of satisfaction was way off. And then he directed our attention full into the face of Jesus. In that small moment the bigness of idolatry in my heart was revealed. This “worst service” turned out to be the sweetest one we had so far as we worshipped the Lord in prayer, song, & word. And it was cool that by the end of the service a few of the peeps I was missing had slipped in…but not nearly as satisfying as just worshipping the Father, Son, & Spirit!
I began the sermon by showing a before and after picture of Restore peep Steve Decker – through God’s grace he has lost over 150 lbs!
I then opened up Acts 3 & 4 as we looked at two even more dramatic before & afters. A lame man is made to leap, picturing the power of God in salvation. A man who battles cowardice grows in courage, picturing the power of God in transformation. Is there a before & after of you that causes people to wonder & ask why? And because we are all a “work in process” not a “finished product”, is your life in Christ a continuing portfolio of before & afters? You can listen to the message below.
Next week we go hardcore in our study through Acts as we look at Ananias & Sapphira. I’ll tell people if they are not at “church” they’ll be struck down too;)
Please pray for this great group of young men who are part of the Discipleship Group Susan & I are leading. Some of them know, love, & follow Jesus. Some of them don’t yet. And some may be called into ministry. I love all these guys. Please pray fervently for them.
Finally, please pray for Aaron & Jackie Acosta (Isaac, Ben, Micah, Judah) as they prepare to move to Detroit to be on mission with us in the 48202/206. They are hungry to serve, grow, and be trained to lead a Discipleship Group. As an added blessing they are gifted musicians who will lead in worship. Here’s a song they wrote and played.