There have been very few times in my life I have been speechless.
One of the times I was speechless was when I saw Lucretia coming down the aisle on our wedding day! If you have ever been a groom you know what I mean—the door opens and WOW! (That is why at weddings I do not turn and look at the bride—I always watch the groom!)
Another time I was speechless was when I returned from a vacation once at 2:30 in the morning and some people in the church had gotten together and purchased at big screen television for me, along with surround sound, a DVD player—and high definition TV. (There were so many remote controls I literally could not figure out how to cut the thing on!)
And then there was the time my favorite football team, Clemson, beat Carolina…oh wait—that isn’t overwhelming anymore—it pretty much happens every year now! :-)
However, I would have to say that without a doubt that yesterday was one of the most overwhelming days of my life. I cannot express to each of you that were in attendance how I felt when you stood and applauded for me…and I hadn’t even given the message! :-) That happened all four services…and all four times it got to me.
Yesterday was amazing…and through it I just wanted to share several random thoughts with you.
#1 - It is a privilege to serve as the pastor of New Spring! I have said it before…and I will say it again without apology…I believe New Spring is the best church in the world—and NOT because I am the pastor—but because of the awesome PEOPLE that attend every week. I am so blessed—and I am not going anywhere! My heart is at this church!
#2 - God is at work…and I feel yesterday was just the beginning. I told Lucretia while in the hospital that I felt as if God was going to use my suffering to draw people into His kingdom AND to grow our church. Well—there were so many salvations yesterday that I could not count them…and we shattered our attendance record with a crowd of 4,387 people. Yeah God!
#3 - My energy is not quite back at 100%. This is not a complaint—it is more of a prayer request. I was very tired after the second service and then after the third I came straight home and took a nap. I feel about 90%—pray that the extra 10% will come around this week because I am PUMPED about this coming Sunday! (Don’t forget—if you like ice cream you will LOVE church this Sunday…and that is all of the details that I am sharing about that!)
#4 - People give the creative process too much credit at times!
We had an unusual amount of distractions in our services yesterday. While I was describing what happened to me during my ordeal we had a person pass out in the second service…and two more passed out in the third service. Props to our security team and our ushers…everything was handled in a very quick manner and the people received immediate medical attention. (We have a lot of doctors and nurses in our church!)
What is sort of amazing is this—there were actually people asking after the service if we had staged these things…sort of like we told people, “Hey—we need some really cool effects here—when Perry gets to this point in his message—PASS OUT!”
I know, I know—our church does some REALLY creative things from time to time. We have had a lot of fun with creativity; however, let me assure you that we would never deceive people into thinking that someone’s health, even their life, is at risk in order to stir up emotion in the crowd. We will continue to push the creative edge…but asking people to fake a health problem is way beyond the boundries of a creative church service!
Let me assure you that what happened to those people was very real…and at last check everyone is doing well.
#5 - People invite people to church when they expect something big. So go ahead…begin inviting people for next week—I promise you will see something you have never seen before…and it is our prayer that Jesus will rock their world. (Uh, do you like ice cream?)