“We have a tech problem with the video”
These are not the words I want to hear 15 minutes before a worship service. I went into the control room and some very knowledgeable and experienced tech people couldn’t figure it out. The computer was working. The DVD player was working. The switch box that controlled what appeared on the screens (computer or DVD) was working. Even the audio was working. But we could not get the DVD picture to show on the screen.
For a pastor, there are few frustrations greater then something going wrong with a worship service just before it starts. This was a big “NO” life was throwing at us… was throwing at “me,” so I thought in my self-centeredness.
So… at 9:28 am (service starts at 9:30 am), I went up to our substitute music director (our regular director was on vacation in Hawaii) and as he was playing for the prelude I told him that he would lead the worship service and that I hoped to be back very soon.
I drove to my house, not knowing if I had a sermon there (we rent space for our worship service and my office is split between my home and the Clayton campus of our church, 20 minutes away). I had some sermons on the home computer but our printer had broken just the week before. I had hard copies of sermons but I had recently moved them all to the Clayton campus… or so I thought.
There was a folder of sermons from James on a near empty bookshelf. I grabbed it and headed back to my car. I leafed through the sermons as I drove (yes… a bad call, I know). “No, not that one… that one doesn’t fit… maybe this one.” I hurriedly walked to the front of the YMCA theater and sat down to look over these very unfamiliar notes. And just then, one of my daughters moved over to my lap and began to cry, distraught that she had left her baby doll in one of the back rooms of the YMCA. I decided compassion from my daughter took precedence (though I wasn't sure this was the right call).
I walked up on stage with the most tenuous grasp on my notes, hoping that this would not be an unmitigated disaster. These are the kinds of moments that God orchestrates that He might show Himself more important than our preparation (though preparation is part of being faithful)… more important than our abilities (though He gives and uses them). Life might have been saying ‘no’… but God ended up saying ‘YES’ and it trumped all other things. God used our weakness to bring about a wonderful encouraging service of worship… because we were looking to Him. We had to!
The sermon series has been called, “How God Turns ‘NO’ into ‘YES,’” and we experienced some of that this past week at WCF. And it was sweet.
Let us know about your stories of God pulling the trump card and turning your ‘no’s into ‘yes’s.