As much as this rose stands out in this bouquet,
this weekend will stand out in the hearts of many.
This truly has been a weekend to remember. In recounting it to you, I'm going to go backwards, starting with Sunday evening.
We all have those cousins that we know as young people, then we grow up and barely see them until something big happens - like a wedding or a funeral. Well, Sunday evening we had the privilege of attending the wedding of one of David's cousins, whom we haven't seen in about 13 years. He is a fine young man, and a godly one, as well, and we were so happy to see him join his life with a beautiful young lady.
They had an outdoor wedding in Galveston and it could not have been better weather (considering it's been raining all week). Here is the outdoor gazebo where the bride and groom stood:
And her beautiful cake.
It was a beautiful ceremony, officiated by the groom's dad. David's mom was reunited with family she had not seen in years, and it was just an overall lovely evening.
Reverse the day to Sunday morning - specifically Sunday morning worship:
There is nothing like sitting in church, listening and watching your son lead in praise to the Lord. I will never get tired of watching God use Ted in this manner. Follow that with a word that penetrates your heart, and that's what Sunday morning is all about. Thank you, Lord!
Now, back up about 12 hours to Saturday evening.
It all started because of the rain. An Over Everest event was cancelled due to the monsoon we had been having all week, so we decided to have a little "get-together" instead. Don't want to waste a good Saturday night, right?
So, many of us gathered in the Sasser's home - the band, friends, family, and even a stranger who needed a blessing - and we ate burgers and fellowshipped with one another.
Well, you can't fellowship with a group of musicians without an abundance of guitars in tow, so after dinner, we gathered in the livingroom for some casual guitar picking and worship. Did I say casual worship?
Oh my goodness! This was not just a casual worship! This was an invitation and showing up of the Lord!
"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." (Matt. 18:20)
It's hard to even describe what went on in that room, but I will try. It will not do justice to the beauty of it all, but maybe I can give you a small glimpse.
Starting out with everyone gathered around, guitars strumming, voices singing, we just sang praise songs to the Lord. From Darin, who was leading us, right down to his little 4 year old daughter, who was sitting in my lap, singing every word, as her daddy was. Her 8 year old sister was sitting right beside me, harmonizing with her beautiful soprano voice, and just blessing me with every word!
The presence of God was in the room - on a casual Saturday night. But, even though that would have been enough - God didn't stop there.
Having slipped in, later in the evening, a stranger (to most of us) joined us. She was in need of prayer and God's touch in her life, so Darin had invited her to join us (this is what it's all about people!). She joined us in worship and thought that was all she was going to get, but that wasn't all she got.
Darin stopped the music and asked her to come and sit in a chair in the middle of the room so we could pray for her. This is a woman whose home is being broken by the chains of alcoholism. Her family needs a miracle from God. So we all gathered around her, laid hands on her, and prayed for her.
It was beautiful. One by one, the prayers that were lifted up to the Lord for this woman and her husband, were heartfelt and it was a sweet reminder of what we should be doing for one another - and for strangers. The icing on the cake was that she showed up for church the next morning. Praise the Lord!
When we were through praying for her, Darin called Ted into the seat. My son - who's had some heartache this week; who's made some hard, adult decisions this week - needed to feel the love from his family and friends, and most of all, the Lord. These are his brothers and sisters in Christ, laying hands on my son, anointing him with oil, speaking words of love and life into him. First, his father, speaking blessings over Ted; reassuring him of what we think of him as his parents and calling on the Lord to bless him abundantly. Then Darin - his best friend and mentor - pouring out words of love and life, into this young man that God has given him to lead. Others prayed for Ted too - powerful words from his friends. I hope he will never forget the beauty of those prayers. It was so powerful.
Others were prayed for, and one in particular was a young friend, whom we had just met that day. She traveled a few hours down the road, to visit Payden, and now here she was, in the middle of worship and prayer! But, she needed to sit in that seat. She will be leaving for Puerto Rico in the Fall, to minister to the people there, as a member of YWAM. A beautiful young girl, with a sweet spirit, going off to minister to the lost, so we prayed for her. And then prayed over her friend, whom she brought with her. What a privilege.
The night continued on as we put Darin and Terry's 8 year old daughter in the "hot seat" and prayed for her sweet little soul. This little girl was the first to volunteer to pray at the beginning of the worship (hours before) and you could hear the passion in her voice as she asked the Lord to be with us that night. Darin prayed over his daughter and of course, this was so beautiful to hear. Then all the band guys gathered around Sterling and Ted led them in a prayer of commitment to protect her, as her brothers in Christ; to stand by her, as honorable men, and guide her. It was beautiful.
There were so many things that happened there that night, such as an 18 year old man, who has been given the gift of preaching, who brought us encouragement and reminded us of the power of our tongue. To see and hear these young men, allowing God to use them, is just an amazing blessing.
I could go on and on, but there is really no other way to sum it up, except to say that God will show up if you invite him.
I imagine this to be similar to what the early churches did - meet in homes, invite the Lord in, worship Him, and bask in his presence. No committees, no fake smiles, no forms to fill out, no business meetings to attend, no time to play church. Just pure, real, worship and prayer for your brothers and sisters in need. Oh, to think what revival could break out, if this is how we met these days!
Intimacy is what we need!! Intimacy with God and intimacy with people. This is the stuff that changes hearts!
I hope this post makes sense and gives you just a glimpse of what a body of believers can do, if we put away the nonsense of this world. No, we don't have to have intense worship every Saturday night, but what if we did? Would your family look different? Would mine?
I know it's changed all of us that were in that room that night.
I pray we will never be the same as we were before we got there.
"Holy Spirit you are welcome here......."
May God bless you this week and cause you to get intimate with Him. You will never be the same.