On the porch…

I have been especially aware the last few days of the voice of the Holy Spirit. I have been asking for God to speak, for the Holy Spirit to make me aware of His presence and to whisper in my heart truth. I’ve realized once again that you have to pause and listen. Truly listen. And when you do, you will hear.

I sat last night in the quietness of my back porch, listening to the hidden insects making their evening sounds. Actually, it wasn’t that quiet. But it was serene. A quiet moment when all time seemed to stand still, if only for a few moments. And it was sweet. I was reminded that we are loved. It is an amazing thing to know and understand in a moment that you are loved, regardless of who you are and what you have done. Unconditional love is so rare these days in our culture. Though we speak about it, how often do you feel it?

I have been thinking also about all those around me who love Jesus. Not those who simply profess that they are Christians, show up for church and walk away to appear the following week, but those who truly love Jesus. Those who strive to be a disciple. Those who struggle with their sinfulness but understand grace. Those who understand that unconditional love. Those who work at deepening their relationship with Christ through personal worship and study; who are not necessarily satisfied with just a connection on Sunday. I have been humbled by the many around me who demonstrate a desire to love others and show it in some way. It is a blessing to know those who make Christ the center of their lives. I am challenged by them.

I have thought about those I get to serve with each and every week. The singers, the instrumentalists, those who labor in sound and technology. Those who give up their time and don’t grumble. Those who go the extra mile. I am humbled by their service and their dedication to the task of leading worship each week.

I think of Maria and Chris W. who have given their last three plus years to us as faithful musicians. They have been committed and steady in their attendance and service. We have been better for it and have enjoyed their music as they have served alongside us. We will miss them as they leave in the next two weeks to go to the next chapter of their journey. I will miss them; their smiles, their laughter, their musicianship, their friendship.

I think of my friend Deborah J. who faithfully and sacrificially gave her time and talents to lead others in worship at the piano for over 36 years. Many were blessed by her gifts for so long. I think of her having surgery this week 150 miles away and look forward to the time this week that I get to stand by her bedside and pray for her in person.

I think of the future and what God has in store for me. The next few steps along the journey will be a different challenge than we have had in our recent past. It is exciting to think of the possibilities. It is thrilling to consider the opportunities. And then I think of Ephesians 3:20-21 that I have read the past two Sundays, and wonder what God has in store for me. And for us together.

Sometimes it’s good to sit on the porch and take a few moments to think. Try it. You might be surprised what the Spirit whispers in your heart.

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