Remember that old song by Boys II Men…”It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday?” What a great song that pat was back in the 90’s…and a great album from what I can remember. I can remember trying to dance to that in my room as a young, awkward, white adolescent. Anyways, that’s how I feel on every Thursday morning. No, not awkwardly trying to dance, but that its so hard to say goodbye to last night…because all of our Wednesday nights are awesome! Speaking of Boys II Men…isn’t that the goal of student ministry anyways? We are in the ministry of transforming good boys to Christlike men and good girls to Christlike women. We’re going after spiritual maturity! By the way you order your student worship service, is the natural fruit spiritual maturity…or just pumping up the numbers and excitement?
Side note: I had the most amazing Japanese food for lunch yesterday.
Back to topic: yesterday my day was filled with study. I always start my study for Wednesday night on Monday mornings when I read through the passage and try to discern the direction God wants us to go with it. Usually on Tuesdays I read through the whole passage again. I paste it into Microsoft Word so that I can make comments all the way down through the passage. Then I try to put together an initial outline of the sermon from the introduction to the story of the Old Testament to the focusing of onto gospel of Christ to the illustration and finally the life application. Then I write out the sermon word for word (what you see on my blog weekly with Storyline). Then I put it into my sermon notes…what I take up with me.
Last night was pretty simple…but impacting. While hanging out with the students just 30 minutes before the service started, I had one of our reoccurring visitors come up to talk to me. He asked me to pray for his friend who fell off a vehicle the night before, fell on his head, and now he’s lying in the hospital brain-dead and the doctors are pulling the plug on him tomorrow. Pray for Eric!
When the service started, the songs of our praise band was focused on sin and eternity since that was the theme of the message from Numbers 13 -14. After the last song “I Can Only Imagine”, I came up and began preaching my little heart on Israel’s sin hindering them from hoping in the Promised Land, and how our sin hinders us from hoping in eternity…whether we know it or not. Then in the middle of the sermon, our student drama team acted out the song “Set Me Free” by Casting Crowns. The main lyrics of the song talk about a person who is screaming out to being set free by Christ from the chains of sin. I then came up and finished out the message. At the end, we all laid our hands on each other and prayed that God would encourage us to live our lives in such a way that we’re hoping in eternity…and not this life.
After the service, I went over to a gathering of all of Eric’s friends who meet together regularly in the parking lot of an auto-parts store. I drove up only knowing “Big Country” who’s been visiting our student ministry. When myself and one of my students walked over to the crowd of about 60 people, I quickly noticed that they were a pretty scruffy and rough bunch. But on this night, they were all in tears as their friend was lying and dying in the hospital. Eric’s car was there, and they were all signing it. They were hugging and embracing each other. It was crazy…when I showed up they all circled up and let me pray for them. I prayed for Eric, for his family, for all of his friends circled up there, and I prayed the gospel of Jesus Christ…since it is the only thing that gives hope in this life and for the next. I shook most of their hands and told them I was praying for them, and that our church would do whatever we could for them.
I then went back to our college service, preached the same message, told them about Eric, and pointed them to Christ. I finally got to sleep around 11:30pm, and woke up this morning to lead a First Priority (like FCA) meeting at 7:00am at a local high school for their 6th – 12th graders. We just moved the meeting to the library this morning because we were packing out the classroom we were meeting in. The classroom had about 30 desks. The library has more like 60 chairs. Wouldn’t ya know…we were PACKED OUT for the first morning in the library. I’m thinking about now either holding in the lunch room or the gym. God is good!
When its so hard to say goodbye to an awesome night like last night, it just makes me even more excited about what God has in store for the days, weeks, months, and years to come!
Ending note on the future: I had an architect come out this morning to start drawing up some plans for an extension to our youth building as we continue to grow in the building. Crazy exciting times, yall!