I just started reading “Forgotten God” by Francis Chan. I quite enjoyed “Crazy Love” several months ago when I read that, and I’ve heard Chan speak at a conference I attended years ago, so I figured “Forgotten God” was pretty much a can’t-miss. Boy…
If you’ve ever seen “Extreme Home Makeover” on television, you know the one that takes a deserving family, sends them on vacation, tears down their house and builds them a new one in 7 days? 9 times out of 10, when they reveal the house and the family walks in for the first time, someone in the family says something to the effect of: “This is exactly what I wanted.” or “It’s like they read my mind.” or “This is so me–this is just my style!” or “How did you get it so right?!?”
While, I’m not finished “Forgotten God” yet, I can get a sense of the emotions that birth the comments those homeowners give. It’s not that I wrote the book in my head before he wrote it on paper, its just that I (so far) not only agree with what Chan is saying, but am moved to internalize it and make something of it. I’ve read plenty of books. Good books by good authors. But this one seems to be…..I don’t know. Something else.
Chan just asked a question that spawned this blog post for me. The answer to the question is what is to follow. Here’s the question. I’ll write it just as he did:
“When was the last time I undeniably saw the [Holy] Spirit at work in or around me?”
My immediate answer was: “Today at lunchtime.”
I’d been looking forward to today’s lunch appointment with a good friend and fellow youth pastor named Joel. I first met Joel last summer through a mutual friend of ours. I asked Joel to consider being our guest speaker at last fall’s discipleship retreat. He did and it rocked.
But before the retreat ever happened, I met Joel for the first time at a Chipotle 15 minutes from my house. Did you ever meet someone and almost instantly feel like you had found a friend? That was Joel.
So like I said, Joel came on our retreat and God really used Joel to speak to us that weekend. And we’ve kept in touch ever since. Not long after our retreat Joel invited me to speak at his youth ministry’s discipleship retreat. I told him I’d pray about it, but my prayer was pretty much like, “God if you don’t split the sky open or dry up the ocean, I’m doing this thing.”
Through no fault of anyone, the retreat had to be cancelled. I was bummed to say the least, but as it turns out, Joel and I don’t need a reason to get together. So, today at lunch, with no event to plan, no logistics to work out, and practically nothing to actually do, we got together for lunch.
As Bill Cosby said, “I told you that story to tell you this one.”
We sat there today at lunch, having stuffed myself silly with twisted chips, salad, butter rolls, and chicken strips with fries. Well-behaved Joel had a salad. But as we talked (non-stop), I got the undeniable sense that there weren’t two of us at the table, but three. Matthew 18:20 says plainly, “Where 2 or 3 gather together in my name, there I am with them.” And when I say undeniable, I mean undeniable. It was obvious to both of us that God had orchestrated stuff way beyond us. What Joel shared from his heart and current situation touched my heart and encouraged me deeply and I can say humbly that what I shared with him was beneficial to his spirit, too. (Actually I can say that humbly because I’m not sure it had much to do with me!)
Joel is a dear friend and as close as we were before today’s lunch, I’d dare say we’re even closer now.
While I’m fairly certain that not many people except my Mom read my blog, (and she’s iffy) I’d like to take a chance and ask the same question of anyone reading this….
“When was the last time I undeniably saw the Spirit at work in or around me?”
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