I planned, prayed, studied, prepared, tweaked, refined, practiced, and finalized my message for Sunday morning. We’re in a series called Tell Me A Story, where we’re looking at the great truths Jesus revealed in the amazingly-simple stories He told.
Yesterday we were going to look at a story that is so simple, it’s told in just one verse (Matthew 13:44). The kids drama team from The Rock had a very humorous skit ready to help me illustrate my message in a fun way. And I was fired up to share with our church the simple, yet profound, truths the Holy Spirit had spoken to my heart from this story.
Then something happened.
The Spirit of God moved into our service in such a powerful way that we couldn’t continue as planned.
At the close of our worship time, I felt like God was calling us to simply stay in His presence, so we continued to worship. Then God spoke to us through a prophetic word that was right on the mark. I encouraged the congregation to remain in an attitude of prayer as we just waited in God’s presence. Without hesitation, people came to the altars, kneeled at their seats, or stood in God’s presence.
No formal prayer. No stirring music. Just the sweet sound of spiritually-sensitive people sobbing in God’s presence. It was powerful! Another word was given—this one very challenging and exhorting.
Then I felt the Holy Spirit stir my heart. I opened my Bible to the one verse I had prepared to share. But when I opened my mouth, God gave me an entirely different message. I only spoke for a couple of minutes, and without a formal dismissal I simply called people back to prayer.
And our people prayed. And prayed. And prayed. For a long time members of our congregation simply waited in God’s presence.
The Holy Spirit did a deep and personal work in many people’s hearts yesterday—including mine! I cannot wait to see what changes come about as a result of our unplanned time with God yesterday. I’m so glad that my sermon didn’t happen!
March 9, 2009 at 9:47 am
Bethel is blessed to have a pastor that is sensitive to the move of the Spirit and who lets Him move. Church is not just about filling the seats with people, it is about filling the people the Lord’s presence.
Great job, Craig, letting God run the service and you stepping aside!
March 9, 2009 at 8:58 pm
That is great Craig! God is in your midst.
March 16, 2009 at 12:08 am
Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.
March 21, 2009 at 9:16 pm
i wish i could have been there. i love those times the best. sometimes even when what we have planned is good to share, it is not what is needed at that time. i especially love when God shows up and the most amazing things happen…..with no preaching???……. no points or questions???? how can this be?? haha- that’s great!