Every once in a while, I find myself absolutely stunned as to how God works out His plan for His glory and our good. After spending an afternoon resting, watching football (and seeing my Cincinnati Bengals fall to 1-4 on the season), I went over to Salem Baptist Church for a nice meal and met some delightful people. One couple that was there lived in Lexington for a good amount of time, so we spent some time talking about the rapid change and growth of that great city. I met another man who was an MK (Missionary Kid) whose parents served in Senegal in West Africa. What amazing stories he had!
My sermon for the night was “The Ultimate ‘Why’ Question” — why would a loving God allow evil and suffering?’ We were blessed to have the Heartland Praise Band from Paducah with us to lead us in music. They will lead us for the next two night — and am I ever anticipating that. The leader of the group has a heart very sensitive to the Spirit. And that was evident last night.
The first song they sang was “Blessed Be Your Name” which spoke about how God’s name is to be blessed in the joys and the challenges of life. During the second song, they were singing right along and we were praising right along until the band just stopped and said, “We need to go to prayer.” Apparently, someone ran in in the back and said that one of their young deacon’s dad had a tractor turn over on him.
So immediately, Mark Combs (the pastor) called for us to get together in groups and just offer up “popcorn prayers” to God for this situation. Once done, the band led us in “Great is Your Faithfulness” which again was a song about God’s faithfulness in the midst of trying circumstances.
After I read the opening Scripture of Psalm 88, Mark came up and said that this deacon’s father was just fine and we gave praise to God. But even with that circumstance, God used that to help us feel the weight of the question before them — what if he had died, would we still be praising him and trusting him? Do we only trust God during the good and curse him during the bad?
God gave me great freedom to preach to those dear people and many responded to deeper commitments and walks with the Lord.
Tonight, I’ll preach on “If Jesus is So Wonderful, Why Are So Many Followers Such Jerks?” — a title taken from one of the chapters of Randy Newman’s book par excellence, “Questioning Evangelism.”
Thanks for your prayers. Keep ‘em coming. God’s doing a neat work here. Can’t wait to see what He’ll do next.
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