Yesterday was a great day of worship and fellowship at our church. Although, John and I were supposed to be gone to a conference, I feel as though it went well. John and Kelley did a terrific job leading us in worship and allowing the Spirit to guide them while leading. I was very anxious about delivering the message, because normally I spend at least 20 hours in study for a sermon, I only had Saturday to prepare. Thanks to my life experiences and interactions with people over the span of Friday and Saturday, the Lord allowed me the opportunity to speak of those. I spoke on the topic of "The Discipline of a Loving Heavenly Father". It was freeing to me to be totally transparent before my congregation on why I felt that I was unable to attend the conference. I spoke to how although we(Christ Followers) are not to be fearful of the wrath of God, due to Jesus taking that upon himself, we did need to realize that God, like our earthly fathers, will discipline us when needed out of love.
It answered many of questions that people had, and I think clarified some concerns that others had about the topic of discipline. For me, it was a great learning experience, in which I learned that although God is faithful and just to forgive us (1 John 1:9), he still has every right to discipline us when we have strayed off the beaten path. The thing to remember was, he does this to those in whom he loves.
Last night we had a special guest with us, who taught on the crucifixion from a doctors and historians perspective. It was an eye-opening experience and really painted a very vivid picture of the crucifixion for us. Thanks Ric for coming and teaching. The whole night service was great. John chose appropriate songs for the topic on hand, and at the end of the service I read a quote that spoke of the offensive/attraction of the cross.
All in all, I feel as though God was glorified in all that took place, and I prayerful that people's hearts were challenged and possibly in the process of being renewed and transformed. I know that is the case in my heart. God has really been at work in my life lately, and has challenged me in many ways. My inclination is to continue pursuing him with all that is in me and as James says, he will draw nearer to me.