As I was writing that post ("Jealous?"), the snow was coming down. I was out shoveling several times on Thursday and again on Friday morning as we went through a remarkable winter storm. Our Thursday afternoon message planning meeting was abbreviated and moved from North Heights to the telephone. We were still able to get the spring message series ("Living the Dream") fleshed out, thanks to our network partners Todd Mathison and Eric Bluhm. Work on the summer series will need to be scheduled later.
On Friday I was wondering, and praying, about how I was going to get things ready for Sunday morning. I wasn't clear about what direction the message on "You Shall Not Covet..." was going to take and I was planning on leaving later that day for the men's retreat. I'd spent significant time in prayer and study throughout the week (and before) but a good direction wasn't coming clear. (There were too many things on the subject that I wanted to share.)
So, I was working and praying in the morning, not knowing if I'd even be able to go on the retreat. But then God opened a door! It occurred to me that I could gain some inspiration and organization for Sunday by listening to the message that had been already shared at one of our network churches. (We're a running a week behind the other churches with this "Ten Commandments" series.) I started listening to the recording of Per Nilsen's message and had the sense that this would be good for us to hear.
How good it is to work together! So good not to be alone or to think I need to "do it all." God provides brothers and sisters to come alongside, and the group that does this message planning work together is one evidence of that.
But even more than working with the other people I mentioned in this post so far, what's remarkable is how GOD works together for good "to those who love Him and who are called according to His purpose."
- Our area schools were closed on Friday because of the snowstorm, and that allowed me the time needed to prepare a study sheet that would help our people catch more of what Per had to share. I did some more on Saturday during "free time" at the men's retreat.
- On Sunday morning I finished it up before going to church but clicked the wrong option on my computer and lost it. All that work--gone. I screamed (out loud at home -- only me and the dog were here) and called Toni. She and the worship team were praying -- and somehow I was given the ability to recover the work. There was much rejoicing!
From this little test God has made a testimony. God provides when we trust, obey, and pray. Thank you Jesus.
Time to head out for the afternoon school bus run now!