I was quite sentimental yesterday. I had spent the week preparing to preach on the ironic providence of God. All the while, I could not forget that it was Memorial Day weekend 2008 when I first met the leaders and members of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church. Boy does time fly!
I remember meeting with various leadership groups that Saturday. Later that evening, I talked to Crystal about how my day went. She asked, “Well, what do you think?” I replied, “I think I have two sermons to preach in the morning. And then I am coming home to get back to my life and work.” Oh well. God had other plans.
I do remember how many of my stereotypes about Shiloh were shattered that weekend. I met many kind and loving people. The leaders I met were serious and prayerful. And the worship services were warm and uplifting. I would lie if I denied that I sense a real connection with the congregation. But I mentally wrote it off as the Lord just blessing me to have a good day of worship and preaching. Oh well. God had other plans.
I am truly grateful that the Lord ignored my plans and accomplished his own plans in my life. I desperately miss my family and friends in Los Angeles. But I will not dishonor God by complaining. God has been too good to me. He has sent me to a loving congregation and craves the word of God, is willing to follow leadership, and strives to accomplish great things for God. Of course, there are challenges here. There were challenges in Los Angeles. And there will be anywhere the Lord sends. So with all that God is doing in my life, family, and ministry, I can’t complain. Can a man be more blessed?
Our youth choir and young adult choral (which is only several months old) led the musical praise in our morning worship services. I am grateful for their service and participation. May the Lord bless these two groups to grow, both spiritually and numerically, to make a vital contribution to our desire for God-intoxicated worship at Shiloh.
I walked into our 8 AM service, I saw a familiar face. But I said to myself, “That could not be him.” So I stopped and asked, “Brother, do I know you.” It was who I thought it was, Dr. Jackson, pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church of Chicago. I went over to speak and asked what he was doing in town. He said, “Dr. Curry and I…” “Dr. Curry is here?” I interrupted. When he answered in the affirmative, I thought to myself that I would not be preaching that service.
Dr. L.K. Curry is the Pastor-Emeritus of Emmanuel. And he is one of the great preaching voices in the country. At 83 years, he is still going strong. And his life of integrity, service, and preaching is a great witness to the faithfulness of God. I just could not rob myself or my congregation of the opportunity to hear this great man of God.
By the time Dr. Curry made it into the room, the service had already begun. During the fellowship period, I went down, spoke, and told him to get ready to preach. Less that five minutes later, Dr. Curry stood and blessed us with a powerful word from God. What a blessing! After hearing Dr. Curry, who is one of Crystal’s favorite preachers, she announced her day was already made! I agreed.
Praise God for all the guests who were present in our worship services yesterday.
I did not teach my New Members Class yesterday. Thanks Deacon Brinkley for filling in for me.
In our 10 AM, I continued my exposition of Philippians. I preached a message on Philippians 1:12-14, entitled, “What Happens to What Happens to You.”
I plan to preach Philippians 1:15-18 this coming Sunday: “Facing Friendly Fire.”
Thank God for those who were saved and added to the church in our worship services.
The Orlando Magic defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers last night 99-89 to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals. Come on, Lebron. What’s the deal?
Have a happy and safe Memorial Day.