The last two Sundays have been wonderful. Last Sunday night, I preached as I do every other first Sunday night at a place called Home with a Heart. It is a home for men recovering from addiction. Every time I preach, I always want God to move. It’s extra special when a move of God seems to pop out of nowhere – unexpected by me but planned by God.
On the typical night, the family that leads worship sings about 5 songs before I preach and about 4 after. I had preached a message on praise from Hebrews 13:15. This was a message I had preached several years ago but with a slightly different twist. In the message, I had mentioned how some people “pray the prayer” 150 times and aren’t truly born again. It was clear that conviction was in the room. A few men had walked out and returned around that point of the message. After you’ve preached off and on for 25 years, you can handle most distractions…note that I say MOST. (The one I couldn’t handle is a story for another time.)
We start singing the last few songs and seem to be closing with “Give Me Faith”. Tears are flowing down my face. Garrett, who is singing lead on this song, continues to sing. It was clear God was up to something. Men began to come forward to pray. I couldn’t leave my seat because tears were flowing. The group went into another song, and Garrett went down to pray with these men. When all was said and done, one man chose to follow Jesus Christ that night. He later apologized for leaving the room because he didn’t want to hear what I was preaching. I told him it was no issue, and I was thrilled about what God is doing in his life.
This morning, I was driving to church. It’s a 25-minute drive, so I began to pray for our church services. I ask God to do something unexpected. He did in both services. In the 9:00 service, a couple shared about something recent they were going through. Their level of transparency would not be allowed in most churches, but our church surrounded them with grace and love. In the second service, the worship music added an unplanned element. Other than a couple of the singers looking surprised, it seemed to flow. I talked with the workshop leader for the second service, and he was jokingly upset with me about asking God to do the unplanned. I told him, “Don’t fault me for praying; fault God for answering.” We were both joking, but we do embrace God’s surprises.
We have been trained to expect the unexpected. We should be equally or more willing to embrace it when it is a move of God. I’m tired of the same old stuff. The same old stuff gets the same old results. It’s time to be expectant Christians who expect God to interrupt our planning to accomplish His greater purpose. Lord, bring it on!