I’m preaching in revival next week at Fairview Baptist in Hiddenite, NC, (near Taylorsville, NC) from Sunday night to Wed. night. A dear brother, Durant Barr, has invited me to come speak. He’s a young pastor. Only 26 years old and he’s pastoring a church that his wife’s grandfather pastored for 40+ years. It’s a small church. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve been praying and working like a dog to get ready. I’ve been asking the Lord what He wants me to preach. The truth is…it would be easy to pick out my favorite sermons and let ’em fly. But, that’s often times NOT what the Lord wants. It’s true, that I do get to preach some of my favorite messages in revival services from time to time, but often, it’s something totally different.
Each church is different. They have different needs and are in different places on their journey. Truly, Mt. Pleasant and Fairview are probably about as polar opposite as you can get. We are fairly large (560 last Sunday) and they are significantly smaller. Pastor Durant tells me to expect about 50-75 during revival. Hey…no problem. I’m good with that. Where two or three are gathered, right?
But, here’s why I’m telling you this. I would like to ask you to pray for me. Pray that I might be an encouragement to this young person and this church. Pray that I will preach with power, but do so in love and with great compassion. Pray that I will be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and be willing to preach and say exactly what He wants. Pray that I will be faithful.
Honestly, weeks like next week wear me out. It’s hard to describe what it’s like to work all day and then preach four nights in a row. The mental, physical, emotional and spiritual toll it takes on a person is extreme. But, I love it! When I’m weak, He’s strong. And here’s the deal. I don’t do this much. Why? Simple. Peter said, “Shepherd the flock among you.” That means I need to focus on my people (flock). But, from time to time (when I’m asked), I pray and ask the Lord, “Do you want me to accept that invitation? Can I help? Can I encourage?” And yes…from time to time, He says, “Go.” So, I’m thankful for a church family at MPBC, that will let me go from time to time to try to help others.
So, if you think of it, would you pray for me and the good folks at Fairview and Pastor Durant? It would be much appreciated.
I want to show you something. See this receipt?
I found it crumpled up in my driveway about 15 feet from the road. Obviously, someone just couldn’t wait till they got home to throw away this little tiny piece of paper. Can you see what they bought?
- Cigarettes (over $5 a pack…YIKES)
- Raisin Pies
- Swiss Rolls
They spent $17.42 and broke a $100 bill to do it.
Now, what does that say to you? Oh…you don’t want to ask me what it says to me. 🙂 I can conjure up all kinds of mental images of what this person might look like who littered on my driveway. Am I going to make a judgment? Am I going to bear to you a stereotypical viewpoint or potential throw a large blanket on the situation that might not be fair.
Nope I’m not!
Because I’m not going to tell you what I’m thinking. And I suppose I’ll never know what you are thinking.
But, I will say this (I can’t help myself :)).
God loves this person. They might be a believer, they might not. So, I prayed for them. I told Clara and Andrew as we made our way back from the mailbox that we don’t know who this person was, but God does and so we’ll pray for them. (Clara was totally grossed out that I picked up the receipt from the driveway. She said, “EW! Don’t touch that Daddy! It’s like having Katy back all over again. She was/is the same way.)
I have no idea why people do what they do. Sometimes I wonder why I do what I do. I suppose it’s selfishness. I suppose I do exactly what I want to do. And that’s the crux of Christianity. Surrender. Surrendering myself to the hidden hand of God and allowing Him to mold in me a compassion for a litter-bug and a person who probably lives within a stone’s throw of my house who smokes Marlboro’s and eats Raisin Pies and Swiss Rolls. So, whoever you are…I’m praying for you and I love you in Christ.
You know, come to think of it…that’s exactly what I’m praying for me, MPBC and for a little church in Hiddenite, NC.