If you are a regular reader of my blog you know how much I look forward to Sundays. I often use my blog to preview the Sunday ahead because I am so excited about it. It's true, I live for Sundays and I wake up most mornings asking myself the question, "Is it Sunday yet?" But today let me write in reverse. Instead of sharing why I am excited about the upcoming Sunday, let me put things in reverse and share with you what I loved about last Sunday! Here is a rewind of Sunday's highlights:
I loved the two hours before church began on Sunday. Those 120 minutes were ones of great anticipation for what God is going to do. I loved spending that time in running through my sermon one more time, checking in with our sound techs, video techs and our Worship Arts Director to be sure everything was set and ready to go, and spending time in prayer and worship.
I loved chatting with a lady in the foyer before the service began who had just got home a few hours earlier from vacation after a 29+ hour drive. Her words were, "We got in late but I just can't miss church!"
I loved greeting people prior to the service and seeing and hearing the excitement they had to be in church and the anticipation they too felt regarding the service.
I loved participating in worship! I especially loved seeing my family participating in the worship as part of the band.
I loved being able to lead our church corporately in prayer for a couple who is newer to our church and who is down in Grand Rapids with a newborn baby that is in critical condition. Though this is a very difficult time for this couple, one of the things I love about being a pastor is the opportunities to walk with people through the highs and lows of life, literally to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.
I loved being able to use a video clip from "Evan Almighty" to use culture to help our church family connect with what it must have been like to be Noah.
I loved being able to preach a brand new sermon starting off a new series on the life of Noah, showing our church family how one person can make a difference in a wicked world and how each of us can be a breath of fresh air in our homes, in our schools, where we work, and in our neighborhoods.
I loved watching our own NOAH being on stage and throughout the Gospel Center as I preached. He did such an awesome job of acting for 40 full minutes without ever saying a word. It was so much fun to see how his part in the service kept people focused on a much more detailed and deeper sermon than usual.
I loved meeting so many newer folks to our church during the "Meet & Greet" after the service.
I loved talking with a couple who I met at the Welcome Center because she lost her purse in church. It ended up that Sunday was their very first time at E-Free. Not only that, they live right up the street from us and had just signed up to be part of our Life Group! We were also able to reunite her with her purse!
I loved seeing how many new people signed up to be part of our Life Groups! Our group alone has 6 new people that will be part of the 12 people who are already part of our group.
I loved chatting with the representative that was in the lobby today with Bethany Christian Services as part of Sanctity of Life Month. It was exciting to see her pleasure with the great contacts she made with people from our church.
I loved seeing the numbers of people who were part of the new 2nd hour classes that took place after the service.
I loved spending some time in my office after the service with a toddler of one of our staff members playing catch with a football and teaching him how to enthusiastically say, "BUCKEYES!"
I loved the fun and laughter we experienced tonight at our Life Group leader's appreciation dinner. God is doing wonderful things through our small group ministry!
I could go on and on, but there is a partial glimpse of why this past Sunday at Gaylord E-Free Church in Gaylord, Michigan was so special!