Power Source classes resumed this past Wednesday night at OBC - instead of a Wednesday night worship service and sermon (which I'd been used to), this church offers different classes on Wednesday nights. Each one lasts for twelve weeks, and you sign up for the one that interests you most. There are usually ten to twelve classes to choose from, and there's something for everyone. In this session, for instance, there are classes devoted to studies of Judges, Timothy, and Revelation, there's a marriage class, a parenting class, one just for women (a study of the book Captivating), and then there's the one that I chose: Balancing Life's Demands.
The class description reads: "Are you busy, tired, stressed out, and stretched to the limit? Does life seem a little out of control? Are you running long on "to do's" and short on time? In Balancing Life's Demands, you will learn how to put first things first and find peace in Christ while in the midst of pressure and adversity."
Oh yes, this sounded like a class for me. I'm not necessarily "stretched to the limit", but I've been there before, and have to actively plan and schedule so as not to wind up there again. And I definitely feel like I could use a few more hours in my day...so I signed up.
About seventy people showed up to the first class. We met in the choir room (the largest classroom in the church, I believe) and there wasn't an empty seat to be found. I imagine that this was due to two things: one, everyone can identify with having too much to do. Two, the teacher for this class is also the church's pastor, who is a pretty popular guy. Pastor Steve is charismatic, funny, honest, and an excellent speaker. He's just an "every man" kind of pastor, and is so easy to identify with - if anyone can tell us how to juggle a to-do list, he's the guy.
During the first class, we talked about the six symptoms of misplaced priorities...and most of them resonated with me. Then there was the overview of Biblical priorities: God, mate, family, work, ministry. And an amazing quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower: "The urgent is rarely important, and the important is rarely urgent."
I've spent the rest of the week considering my own priorities, and how they need to be realigned. The first step was limiting my time on Facebook - darn you for sucking me in, Frontierville! I had such a booming frontier town...it's a shame that I had to burn it to the ground (or at least delete everything) so there's no temptation to check in just one more time. The next step was enforcing time for Bible study - one of the "I should" tasks that was quite often pushed back and back and back until it just didn't get done before. It's amazing how much time you can find for it, though, when you move it to the top of your priority list.
So the middle of my week was thought-provoking. By the end of the week, I was encased in a black cloud...just an emotional funk that I could not shake. I was ready for Sunday morning to roll around, knowing that I always feel better after going to church. And sure enough, this morning's message was absolutely perfect for me.
I mean, any message that begins with a detailed description of fried pork tenderloin, homemade mashed potatoes, buttered rolls, corn, green beans...well, it has to be pretty terrific, right?!
The name of the sermon was actually "The God of All Comfort," but you just can't talk about comfort without mentioning comfort food. (At least, Pastor Steve can't, because he's kind of awesome that way.)
I needed some comfort this morning, and I got it in spades. My sermon outline is a jumble of notes and verses that I'll spend more time with this week. I cried more during the service than I think I ever have in church before. And I left feeling better - and better equipped to handle whatever life throws my way.
(Although it's not posted just yet, the full sermon will be available online - in audio, video, and podcast formats, plus sermon notes - very soon. You'll be able to see/hear it, as well as past sermons, HERE if you're interested. I haven't heard one yet that wasn't thought-provoking, compelling, and relevant, but I'd especially recommend this one!)
"...He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1
A beautiful song by Hillsong United that we sang this morning...so perfect!