Maybe it is the only one word sermon I ever heard. I’m not sure. But it was the best. It was convicting, encouraging, challenging, and crystal clear all at the same time. The speaker delivered it from his heart. It stirred my emotions while bringing me to a point of deep mediation and self-examination. It stuck with me. I have thought about it a lot since it was preached. I even memorized it!
And here was the sermon, preached so eloquently by Sam Yacoub, our Worship Leader:
It was especially impacting because of when it was preached. Let me back up a step.
Church planting has been a battle. The enemy has come after us in every imaginable way. Name it, Satan has done it. He knows what we are about, and what we are about to do. He knows we are passionate about Jesus Christ and His Gospel, so the devil has been trying to derail this train before it gets out of the depot.
We have struggled financially. We have struggled with people leaving our group. We have struggled. And if you have ever struggled with anything (like, who hasn‘t? right?), you know it can become easy to put your eyes on the mountain before you and take your eyes off of the God who can move mountains.
And as we get closer to launch, it is also oh-so-easy to focus on what we need. We need this equipment, this leader, this much money. We need, we have to have, make sure we keep asking God for… It’s glaring us in the face, as the launch date of the church is bearing down on us. It’s pressure. And this is the first church I have ever planted, so it’s not like I have personal experience to draw on.
Anyways, at our Leader Team meeting a few weeks ago, we were discussing what was needed to get us to launch. After some discussion, I asked our Financial Assistant Michele what was in our account. She told the group. And Sam, still a relative newcomer to the group, blurted out a response. He said, “Sweet!”
Yeah, it is sweet! God forgive me for lamenting what we don’t have instead of celebrating what you have provided. How short sighted I can be!
I needed a brother who I knew would be committed no matter what happened, and God provided Dale.
We needed someone to handle the finances when we first got started, and what was the first thing God provided when we first got started? Take a guess. (You‘re right! It was Michele.)
We needed someone to handle facility and equipment issues, and God gave us Dave.
We needed people to head up Children’s Ministry, and God provided the best people in the Bloomingdales.
We needed someone who understands how Harvest works, and God provided Colleen.
We needed someone to work with our youth, and God provided a leader in Bob AND a whole youth group!
We needed a passionate worship leader, and God gave us TWO, in Sam and Laura Yacoub.
We needed contagious enthusiasm and joy, and God sent Dan and Alicia.
We needed someone to head up hospitality, and God brought Amanda and Ken to us.
We needed someone who can help design promotional things, and God loaned us Ryan and gave us Bob (a different Bob).
I needed a brother to come alongside and push me, and God brought me Neil Henretty.
I needed a wife who is supportive, confident and organized. God provided Erin quite a while ago, as if He knew what I needed!
There are so many others God has brought along at some point in this journey who have been such a blessing: Brookie, the Svestkas, the Waters, Iron Man, the Dunlaps, Cranmers, Ovenshines, Persics, Steigerwalds… I didn’t even want to start a list because I didn’t want to leave anyone out. If I did, I sincerely apologize. I love you and would not forget you intentionally. Just a lot on my mind lately. Trying to plant a church, you know? Leave a comment below if I forgot you and I will publicly apologize. :)
I think this is why Paul wrote in Philippians 4:6: do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
Cry out to God for what you need. But do it with thanksgiving, a grateful heart acknowledging what He has already done.
p.s. - blessed with the greatest people anywhere ever, but none of them think I am going to start doing one word sermon