I don't know exactly how to explain about this week. It's like "Define the universe and give three examples." Yeah. It's been that kind of a week.
I preached on our UM understanding of baptism. I mean, my understanding of the UM understanding of baptism (see my last post). Sunday's God-incidence happened in the guise of that young man and his girlfriend.
Monday's God-incidence happened when one of CATC's prayer warriors came and asked if I have ever considered starting a healing ministry. Uh, no. Healing is one of the spiritual gifts I've been given. but I'm not opposed to having someone with that gift lead a ministry. She has that gift and the Spirit's been prompting and leading her for years. My two predecessors didn't want "that kind of stuff" happening in "their" church on "their" watch. I've come to know this woman in past six months. She's on my Partners in Prayer team. We've been praying for an outpouring of the Spirit on CATC, its people and its ministries. God-incidence #2.
#3 happened in a Church Council meeting on Tuesday after the church's business stuff had been taken care of. A young man in his 30's asked if he could address the rest of the group. He was given permission by the Chair and then proceeded to talk about the Youth, the Young Adults and the Middle Agers (his age). What he said was in line with everything I've been saying these last six months. When one of the old-timers asked, "What can we do?" the man answered, "Let's sit down and talk about it together. And let's leave Pastor Net to faciliate and listen to our dialogue. CATC's ministry starts with us and God, not her." Whoa! Holy Spirit time!
God-incidence #4 happened during a pastoral home visit on Wednesday. I went to visit New Friend who wanted to speak with me. She's also in my PIP group, a prayer warrior, loves the Lord with everything she's got and just "retired" at my tender age to spend more time with her family from a CEO postion. We're sisters from different mothers. She told me how she had been praying about CATC and that the Lord would send the "right" person to lead them when Previous Pastor retired. She sees what's happening in the church and is praising God for the leaps and bounds of faith that's been going on. She pledged her prayers and support.
And then we had us some deep theological conversation. Turns out she has a BA in Bible! I can't tell you how wonderful it was to be able to converse with someone using BIG words! Her background is in Social Work too, so I had a marvelous time talking theology and social science with her.
She asked me if I had read "The Shack" yet. I told her I hadn't - I'm not very fond of Christian fiction (gagging noise). New Friend gave me her copy and asked me "to read it with an open mind." I thanked her and told her I would.
Thursday was self-care day. I had my nails, my eyebrows and my toes done (Opi's Louvre Me, Louvre Me Not). I travel 30 miles to go to the Salon Where Everybody Knows My Name. These folks are like my family! I had a wonderful conversation with the manicurist and we prayed together when I was done. After listening and ministering to the lady who does my 'brows and toesies, she hugged me tightly and whispered, "I just love you." I chatted with the other beautician's father who calls me "his favorite preacher," although he's never heard me preach and I doubt if he goes to church. He has a good heart and I pray for him, too. God-incidences #5, #6, and #7.
I finally open "The Shack" when I get home. Oh.my.gosh!!!!
Y'all know I'm a REALLY BIG "Joan of Arcadia fan. And I freely admit her character (right along with Teresa of Avila) has influenced my understanding of God. In each of these God-incidences I have stated my position and my notions about God. I get "asked" (commanded, ordered, prompted) to do things that I'm not sure where or what they're going to lead towards. I try to be faithful. I've listened to God's voice for so long, I KNOW what is sounds like. Like Joan and Teresa, I've often asked God, "How do you want me to do this and what shall I use?"
Sometimes I get an definitive answer and sometimes I'm left to figure it out.
Anyway - back to "The Shack." EVERYTHING I've talked about this week with others has been affirmed through this little book. I'm thinking of making it our next Thursday night study book.
And tomorrow I shall preach about: "I'm listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?" God-incidence #9.
As always, I am amazed and delighted at the way God. works.