OH, IS IT GOOD TO BE BACK IN THE SOUTH! I spent half a decade in the Carolinas as a kid growing up. They were some of the best years of my childhood. And, it always feels good to get to go back. This week was no exception. A few years ago, when I gave a presentation at the Sacramento Central Church in Sacramento, CA, (obviously) there was young man visiting from none other than South Carolina. Well, over the years, we have kept in touch, sporadically, but one thing led to another, and there I was in his church this June in Greenville.
I first have to say how much I truly appreciate the genuine, generous kindness I witnessed among this congregation. Truly, God is moving. But, what stood out most was the passion this church is currently experiencing in its attempts to know God in a deeply fulfilling way. For months, they have spent time each week in their prayer meetings praying that God would somehow reveal Himself to them in a mighty way and that they would come to know Him as He really is. I had not been aware of this before I arrived. But, after the first two presentations, the pastor stood up and shared the fact that he could see, in a marked way, God’s hand in what was occurring that weekend. He said that my being there made for not just an enriching weekend, but that it was a direct answer to the prayers they had been making for months to know God in His truth. Many folks that weekend were encountering the truth about God’s character of love as never before. God’s grace was making a marked difference, and lies long held, even in ignorance, were giving way to the light of truth regarding who and what type of a being God is.
I also met a good many of my peers that weekend, which is encouraging, to say the least. It is good to see people of my age, my generation, in our congregations again.
I am going to be sharing some thoughts from that weekend in the upcoming E-sights, so be on the look-out. I will include some very applicable thoughts based on the presentation Intrinsic or Imposed (which can be downloaded for free on the Sermons page).
Our identity as a people is truly not in what we eat, what we wear, or on what day we go to church (although all those things, yes, are important and involved), but rather, our identity as a people, as a denomination, as a movement is based on our understanding of the character of our God, our definition of His other-centered, unconditional, indiscriminant, self-abandoning, non-condemning love and it involves the courage to believe that God truly is this kind of love. Above all else, our identity, both individually and collectively, is centered on the fact that we are passionately loved. We are loved by the great Lover of the Universe.
I look forward to sharing more thoughts on all of this in the upcoming weeks.
Thank you, Greenville. You were not the only one who received a rich blessing. I too was supremely blessed by being able to come to your church and pray with you.