In June, 2006 I attended the Saddleback Worship Conference. This excerpt from my journal refers to our closing session on Friday by Louie Giglio.
Louie challenged me to keep the focus on Christ and the cross. He is the door by which we enter into God’s presence and the one that we seek to bring to people who don’t know Him. But what I got out of Louie’s talk most was his last point from his teaching on Hebrews 13:15,16. His first three points indicated that our worship is ‘through Christ,” “to God,” and involves “sacrifice.” When he began talking about the last point with an intense conviction, I began weeping. “And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for which such sacrifices God is pleased.” He then pleaded with us as worship leaders to lead our people to bringing mercy and justice to the ‘least of these.’ I felt God wrapping His huge arms around me saying, “You’re doing exactly the right thing as you trust me to bring the right children into your life to adopt. And while I’m going to change the lives of those children forever through you, and while I am asking you to lead your congregation in doing this, the greatest reason is that I am going to change you as you step out in obedience and trust me to make you and Julie adequate for the task.” So I wept and wept and wept through the end of his talk and through the entire singing of “The Heart of Worship.” It was a profound experience that I will always carry with me. You see, Julie and I had an appointment set for Monday to meet with the lady from Koinonia Foster Homes. I was able to share this with a few of my friends once again through tears as I was in awe of God’s work in my life.
So I walk away from the conference with a real sense that God always goes before. He has prepared Julie and me for this new era in our family, and continues to lead us there, confirm His faithfulness, and call us to a greater trust. In the same way, all of the things I sense God doing that I recorded a few weeks ago after our Pastoral Staff Retreat, God continues to confirm. My prayer is that I walk forward prayerfully with passion, wisdom, a deep trust, strong conviction, and a respect for my leadership. God will confirm these things through His Spirit’s work in Gary and others who lead me as well. Even Sunday confirmed these things as I stepped out and continued to invite my people, God’s people to a deeper trust and faith as we open our lives to a greater realization of God’s Spirit. (Perhaps being filled with the Spirit is just a greater realization of His presence and an openness to His work – no, not just being open, but pleading with Him to work). I stepped out in faith and entered a new era of allowing God to lead through me in even inviting people to salvation. Gary delivered a sermon that was more heart-felt than almost any I can remember and there was a real sense of the power of the Holy Spirit in everything that happened on Sunday. Lord, give us eyes to see and a heart that seeks Your Spirit’s presence and work among us at Trinity.