This week starts a new series at Grace Family on giving. As I was praying for our pastor and team, it struck me – “I have only done one sermon on giving to adults.” I have taught about giving when I was a children’s pastor and one time when I filled in as our youth pastor, but only once to adults.
It was long ago. The church sanctuary was the gym. As the band finished their practice, Craig and I were in our offices getting ready for service. He came in with a folder and said, “I have to go to the hospital. Things have taken a turn with my dad. I gotta go. Here are my notes.” He left. YIKES! He was teaching on tithing. I looked at the clock – service started in less than 30 minutes. One thing I have learned in my years at GFC is how to read Craig’s writing – believe me, it isn’t easy. On this night, nothing made sense. I went to the outline. Some answers I knew; others made no sense. I read the outline and began to make my own. I read through all the verses and wrote a thought next to each one as I heard the worship leader welcoming everyone to the service. I read through it a couple times and jogged into the sanctuary. As I made my way up to the front row, I told myself, “Slow down.” As the last song was finishing up, I prayed, “God, you are going to have to do this. I have never been so unprepared.”
I got up on stage and told the audience that Craig had an emergency and had to leave. Then I said, “We are going to make it snow in here. Wad up your outlines and throw them all into the aisles because they are totally different than what I am going to preach.” The congregation was pretty stunned by Craig’s departure, but when the first “snow ball” flew, it broke the ice and finally a bunch were flying. We all got a good laugh and we settled into the sermon. I can’t tell you my points, my stories or even if it was that good. I can tell you this – God showed up. He gave me the words, the illustrations and courage to do it. I know God touched hearts and we were able to minister to people in the prayer time at the end. When I got home that night, after the adrenaline wore off, I threw up…twice. When Craig came back in the next morning, he made me do it on Sunday morning since I had already done it.
Lesson learned – God shows up in our time of need. God can use where you are right now, with the gifts and talents you have right now, in the situation you are in right now and do something amazing. You might not think you are ready, but you can do this. God will help you…you don’t go alone.