Delighting In God...When Things Don't Go The Way You Planned
This was surely a roller coaster weekend for The Journey. We knew this day was coming, but the way it played out was most definitely a surprise to us. If you are a regular attender or keep up to date with the goings-on at our church, you likely knew that this past Sunday was meant to be the "sending out" celebration for one of our elders, Ryan Romine, who has accepted a pastoral ministry position at Redeemer Parkersburg, where he will be working alongside our dear friend, Pastor Jim Sallie, to help spread the Gospel in Parkersburg. For the last two months, since we announced that we would be sending Ryan out, we looked forward to celebrating on their last Sunday with us, as a church family, the Romines, and having the opportunity to show our gratitude to them for their service to their church family at The Journey, and our support for them as they leave to serve at Redeemer. We had plans, but God had plans of his own!
A major water main break in the city of Marietta meant that the high school, where we meet, was off-limits, and we were forced to cancel our service. Ordinarily, of course, this would be disappointing, but on this particular Sunday, it was devastating with all that we had planned. Once Jim found out what had happened, he graciously offered to allow us to join the folks at Redeemer and relocate our planned celebration there. What unfolded was truly a blessing to all involved and a testament to the goodness of God!
What a joy it was to be able to celebrate this transition with a blended church gathering of both the church Ryan has faithfully served and the one he will be serving now. As we looked back over the chaos of the evening before, when it seemed like everything we had worked to put in place was going to be ruined, we all remarked how special the moment was for all of us, and how God had richly blessed us. We were reminded he is sovereign, and we worshiped him in that moment together. It was a beautiful picture of how God has knit us together, across churches, denominations, networks, communities, and all other factors that we allow to divide his kingdom into neatly defined segments.
Throughout this series, our focus from the scriptures, and our goal in our preaching and teaching, has been to reorient your (and our) hearts and minds on the purpose for which we do all of this church "stuff." Our religion, apart from our affections for God and obedience to his commands, is nothing more than vanity and self-righteousness for our own glory. Genuine worship is all about God's glory! Our impromptu church service this weekend served as a reminder of what is most important.
We say regularly at The Journey that we strive to do Sundays well. We want to provide our people and our guests with a genuine and faithful church gathering. We want worship, fellowship, and teaching that heralds the Gospel and honors God. Those are good things to strive after. Yet, despite all of our planning and efforts, as this weekend reminded us, God is still the one who is in control of it all. Sometimes, in the midst of our striving to do church well, we can lose sight of why we are doing it all. We are as apt to fall into this pitfall as any church. It is in these moments when our loving God sees fit to lay us bare and expose our own sinfulness.
On Sunday, we found ourselves worshiping and celebrating alongside brothers and sisters, many of whom we didn't know and who didn't know us. This wasn't how we thought our Sunday service was going to go. It wasn't in our plans. Their service format was different from ours. They sang when we talk. We sing when they pray. In the end, none of that mattered...because despite our differences, we are unified in Christ. As I had the opportunity to participate alongside my fellow pastors in the serving of communion to the church who had gathered together, I was reminded of what it is that ties us all together...our utter helplessness, our deep need for a savior, our love for our Lord, and our hope in his Gospel. This is the heart of worship! Soli Deo gloria!
If you missed this week's sermon (or just want to listen again), follow the link below to listen. Or subscribe to our podcast in iTunes.
Part 10 - Delighting in God Through Worship
Questions discussed in this sermon
1. What is worship?
2. How do we worship God rightly?
3. Why is it important to worship God?
***This sermon was recorded at and provided by Redeemer Parkersburg***