“You Could Have Missed This”

A few years ago, our family was enduring through one of the most difficult times we had ever experienced. We were sure that God was calling our family to leave our home, our comforts, our hometown, and our church to serve in another context. When I say that, you might assume that we were unsure of our decision. No, without a doubt, we knew we were supposed to go. Honestly, we just never expected it.

We never tried to make it happen, but we were confident that it had to happen.

Without boring you with numerous details, God had made it abundantly clear. We trusted Him more than we listened to our hesitancies and launched out.

After moving to Rocky Creek 2 1/2 years ago, many people still ask how the transition has been. I often say that God still provides daily confirmations of why we were supposed to obey. Despite our fears of the unknown, God has been so very gracious to us, and our entire family cherishes every opportunity that He gives us to serve together.

On a recent Sunday, I was reminded of how blessed we have been. It was busier than the normal type of Sunday, and a moment simply arrested me to the blessing of obedience.

It was May 19, 2019.

  • We were going through a series called “Membership Matters.”
  • God had been bringing more to faith through the gospel, and our church was experiencing an irregular amount of people joining.
  • A retired pastor who is a member opened up our services by passionately reading the Word to us.
  • A man who came to our church at a broken place in his life had been transformed, baptized, and connected. On this Sunday, he led us in worship to one of the most powerful songs, “Is He Worthy?” After a video testimony of what the church meant to him, he led us, and I could barely keep it together.
  • I preached on the need for relational discipleship through Hebrews 10:24-25, and I asked people to consider multiplying their groups so that we could find places for others to get connected.
  • After the sermon, we ordained Stephen Forrester into the gospel ministry, and I was reminded of how many people had been involved to get his family to that moment.
  • I ran upstairs to change into some swim trunks in order to baptize some incredible new family members.
  • We got time to pray and give to help David’s Table ministry.
  • I got to meet some of our new Spanish visitors and was able to dialogue with them through basic phrases in their language.
  • We had wonderful services as we read the Word, spent time in prayer together, and enjoyed fellowship before and after.
  • After the service, we had a wonderful crew assembled for VBS training.
  • I left to preach to my brothers at Perry Correctional in the blazing hot gymnasium and experienced God move in a powerful way.
  • That afternoon, I had deacon and women’s ministry meetings on how to help serve and connect with new people.
  • That evening, I got the wonderful privilege to teach our folks on how to be intentional group leaders and members as we continue to make disciples.

It was an incredible day.

In the middle of it all, I became overwhelmed. In one of our services, I baptized 8 men who are a part of our church while they are going through rehab. Their stories would floor you. After baptizing those 8 big fellas, my arms were tired! As our church rejoiced with every man who made this public declaration, the congregation got rowdier with every baptism.

As I left the baptistry, I realized there was a waiting line in our expanded baptism dressing rooms. In these newly-renovated rooms just a few months old, we were out of space. I turned around and sat down at the baptistry. I set my feet down in the water and listened to the voices of the worshipers closing the service. Two of our seniors that help prepare people for baptism exchanged glances with me, and we honestly didn’t need words. We were so thankful for what God was doing. Awaiting my chance to dry off and start another service, I just sang along.

At that moment, I think the Spirit reminded me of something. I have never heard the audible voice of God, and I do believe that the Word is from where God primarily speaks to us, but I do believe that the Spirit reminds us (John 14:26), leads us (Rom. 8:14), and even testifies to our own spirit of our standing before God (Rom. 8:16). The Spirit guides us regarding how to apply biblical truth to a particular situation.

With my feet dipped in those waters, I sensed the Spirit reminding me:

“You could have missed this.”

Notice I didn’t hear: “Look at what you’ve done.”

You might look at that day’s calendar and think that I was doing something rather unique or particular to my abilities. You couldn’t be more incorrect.

I really sensed this overwhelming reminder that God was going to work in this church, in these lives, with these ministries, with or without me.

In those moments, the Spirit was reminding me of the truth that nothing good comes from me (Ps. 16:2), anything I have that is good was received and not developed (1 Cor. 4:7), and I am just a vessel that God uses (2 Cor. 4:7). The first sermon I ever preached to this congregation was a reminder that God is not dependent upon any one of us (Est. 4:14).

God was going to work in these lives, and He invited me to be along for the ride. I could have missed this. I am so grateful for what He allowed me to do at our home church, North Side. While we never intended to leave, God was setting things in motion to align my heart with the heart of Rocky Creek. I never envisioned days like May 19th as we agonized over the decision, but God did.

The Spirit reminded me again of that verse that was used so mightily as we made the decision:

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance.  And he went out, not knowing where he was going [Heb. 11:8].

I didn’t know where I was going, but God did. And I am so thankful for His Word (Ps. 119:105) and His Spirit (Rom. 8:14) leading every step of the way. Because I could have missed this.

Is God calling you to do something? Are you afraid of what you might lose if you obey? Have you thought about what you will gain if you do?

Whatever “it” is, don’t miss “it.”