This past Friday we received a call from our Pastor's wife, she informed us that our Pastor had a scary bout with extremely high blood pressure. Top number over 240 I think. They are still awaiting test results, but think he may have passed a blood clot through his heart! Our associate pastors are on vacation this week, so this leaves James and I in charge of Sunday's service. Scary! James has preached before, probably 4 times total in the 5 years we have been married. But those 4 times we have always had one of the other pastor's present. I am "on" the praise band, I sing. However, I do not play any instruments. (tried and failed at piano lessons). Therefore I have never been in charge of the praise and worship time for church. But this was IT! Nobody else to rely on, our responsibilities were staring us in the face and we had no way out of it or around it. We really only had 1 day to prepare for this.
On the morning of, James and I were feeling shockingly relaxed. James spent time in the word at home, and we got there at 8:00 to set up. (our church meets in our local teen center, so we have to set up and tear down EVERY Sunday) I got the coffee on, set up the donuts, make lemonade for the kiddo's. (our church starts at 9:30 with a coffee/fellowship time) James and another elder got the sound system set up (not ever done before without one of the pastor's there), I practiced singing. Still didn't know fully what I was going to do. I grabbed several cd's and our boom box on my way out the door. So the church service went like this:
I opened up with prayer and announcements
We sang "My Savior Lives" with a cd.
Then slowed it down with a solo to "Remember Me".
Then we opened it up for a time of worship and prayer to several songs on the Terry Macalmon CD. His music will most definitely lead you into a desire to just be close to God.
What happened then???
God took over! He was there from the very moment we got there. Wait let me back up for a moment. About 5 minutes before service started, the Devil tried to squeeze in some last few moments of doubt, insecurity, inadequecy (by causing James and I to argue about some silly little details about the service)...BECAUSE the Devil knew that God was about to move in a might way!
When we played the Terry Macalmon cd we advised that the mic was available at the front of the church if anyone felt led to share something.
Sorry, I have to back up again for a moment...when we started the service, we had about 10 people there!!! (were thinking this was going to be a piece of pie...) Byt the end of the special music I sang, there around 35 people present. Which is a good crowd for our church.
About 10 minutes into listening and worshiping through prayer to the music, James got up and asked if there was anybody needing to be prayed for, then the flood gates opened. The presence of God was so strong, he really moved. Several people had words of wisdom and encouragement to speak over others. A broken relationship between James & I and a once very good friend was mended, which was a beautiful moment!
After awhile James still felt led to go ahead with his message. Which was about money. We all know this can be a sore topic of discussion behind the pulpit in church. James has a really strong gift in understanding money, and that debt is not of God. What does God want us to do? Live in peace, freedom of bondage, love.... When you think of debt do you get warm and fuzzy? Does it feel peaceful??? If you are able to answer yes to this question, you are truly a unique individual. James' principals he taught on were from many years of studying money through books, the Bible, and through other's preaching. This service was based a lot on Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover". Here are a few tidbits:
*Did you know "90% of people in our culture buy things they can't afford"?
*Did you know "80% of graduating college seniors have credit-card debt-before they even have a job!"?
*"It is human nature to want it and want it now; it is also a sign of immaturity. Being willing to delay pleasure for a greater result is a sign of maturity. However, our culture teaches us to live for the now. "I want it!" we scream, and we can get it if we are willing to go into debt. Debt is a means to obtain the "I want its" before we can afford them."
*"The LOVE of money, NOT money, is the root of all evil"
The list goes on and on. Bottom line is that James did a really good job getting the points across and it was really well received by the congregation.
It is totally amazing what happens when we let God take control! Ultimately we were very happy with how the service turned out, and it taught us some things as well as a couple. God spoke into our lives fromt he very beginning of our relationship that we will be in the ministry some way somehow, we kinda miandered away from that a bit, but it is time we step up and start doing our part.