A YEAR OF SUNDAYS – WEEK 9 / “Church Where You Are”

“I Home Church” – That’s what my Aunt Mel said a few months back while we were visiting at her home in Linden, Alabama. I had never heard that phrase before but I understood what she was saying and found the humor in it. I filed it away for future reference.

By default, that is what I did this past Sunday morning, except I “boat churched”. Turns out there are no Sunday services on a cruise ship, at least not the one I was on, not this Sunday.

There are countless options to eat, drink and be merry but no church. So, what’s a man to do that made a commitment to not miss church in 2017, to “arrive expectantly” and then write about each experience?

That was the question I sat down to answer before going to bed Saturday night. I asked God how He wanted me to handle that one when Sunday arrived.

Should I stream a live service? Trust him to put the right You Tube video in front of me? The right article? Just wing it? The answer I eventually received was too just show up early. So, I did.

I showed up, expectantly, at dawn. Grabbed a cup of coffee and walked to the upper deck of the boat, which was completely empty. Just me and 200 empty lounge chairs, water as far as I could see and a glowing orange horizon. I felt very small.

I sat for a while and thanked God for as many specific blessings as my mind could rattle off. Everything from new tennis shoes to the ability to walk in them. Breakfast I had not yet eaten but I knew was waiting for me, healthy kids sleeping in comfort and safety below. Then I just sat and listened.

God showed up. There is no mistaking when He shows up. RJ Tanner said it best, “It’s like lightning in my bones”. That and an un-describable peace, all at the same time. Money can’t buy it.

Let’s back up a few weeks………

Several weeks ago, I was watching a video on you tube. Some older fellow with a slow gravelly voice and a strong message was discussing a conversation he recently had with a big shot CEO on the importance of making time early each day to meet with God. The big shot CEO’s response was, “I already get up at 5:00 in the morning, I am so busy, I simply don’t have time”.

The fella’s slow and deliberate response to the CEO I can quote word for word, “I don’t think you understand who you are meeting with….(long pause)…. You are meeting with the God of the Universe”. The words “The God of the universe” stuck with me like glue. They have been playing repeatedly in my head since the day I heard them.

That’s how I have found it works with me since I got in the boat. Not this boat but “The Boat”, the one I finally got in that not just rescued me but restored my soul. Every now and then I will hear or read something that literally leaps off the page like it is on fire and gets stuck in my head. It’s God preparing me for a point He is going to make at a later date.

When these words land in my head they play over and over. I can’t turn them off if I try. It might be a saying, a quote, a scripture, a theme but it will relate to something I am dealing with in the present that is getting the best of me.

It plays over and over then in time, His time, God will address it in a physical tangible manner. He shows up and does something that is directly in line with the saying stuck in my head. It’s very cool.

Several weeks back – God put a man in front of me on my computer screen that referenced our ability to meet privately, at will, with “The God of The Universe” and those words stuck in my head and began to play continuously.

Several weeks later – I found myself sitting alone on the deck of a cruise ship watching a beautiful sunrise in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. I was a speck in comparison to the vastness in front of me, that vastness in front of me was a speck in comparison to the planet I call home, that planet is a speck in comparison to the universe, it just keeps going. He created it all. He is in control of it all.

There was no pastor to deliver God’s message last Sunday morning. The “God of the Universe” showed up and delivered it himself. To finish a point.

Weeks back He planted a saying in my head that culminated with a private meeting at sunrise in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico. In this meeting where He addressed my mortal weaknesses by telling me this. “I created all of this and I created you. I have a plan for all this and I have a plan for you. I’ve got all this…… and I’ve got you. Abide in the certainty of Me and my plan.”

What an appropriate place for the creator to deliver that message. Nothing but His creation as far as the eye could see in every direction, without another soul in sight. Just He and I. Just like He planned.

Get in the Boat. Do your part.

1:6 / Nose to Toes / #16