Our discipleship group has walked through a second year of chapel services over at the Good News Rescue Mission. I always get a kick out of the services down there. If you aren’t coming across, they will let you know…or simply speak among themselves, ignoring you and all your good intentions.
That particular night I thought I had an interesting message sewn together with so many little bits and pieces – historical details, and what I thought were interesting ideas. Per usual all that material was thrown out the window to share from the heart, remembering who I am in God’s eyes, rather than how I might desire to be perceived. It’s an odd way to prepare, but I imagine God enjoys my particular brand of humble pie.
Each time I am offered the opportunity to speak there I remember the little old man from Shingletown that God used in my own life. I had been at the mission for several months, and still enjoyed the chapel services like some strange spiritual circus. ‘Oh here come tonight’s whackos from the distant moon of Jesus…’, I would think to myself. They weren’t bad people, just goofy and out of their minds, and certainly not in touch with my particular brand of self pity.
Worship time was particularly difficult. Is it going to be more like Barry Manilow or Lawrence Welk? Will we be singing another one of those hymns – hot off the hand crank printing press from 1843? But that particular night, with that particular little old man from Shingletown, God showed up…or better, I was finally at a place that I was willing and able to receive.
This gentleman had that kind of energy that offered electricity you could see from your chair. It more than commanded my attention. I don’t remember exactly what he preached on (I assume it had something to do with Jesus), but it felt like he was speaking right to me. As I perceived it, the room became quiet and I could hear only him…and then God let me know in a slight whisper, “…it’s going to be okay…I really do love you…”
Not having a grid for this sort of thing, I kept it to myself. But as I would find out, the folks around me, and particularly those raising me up, could see a change. A few short years later, at least one idea has become a reality – if you have it…and want to keep it…you ought to give it away. As we offered our particular brand of chapel service that night, I could only pray God was doing that same work. It would seem that He is.