As in many projects, with Carols by Candlelight, the details are what make the difference. And in this effort, especially this year, there are thousands of details. Our theme is “Changed” with our focus on lives changed for Eternity. To clearly present this message, a lot of things had to change for FirstJackson and, in reality, for each of us.
We were challenged to be a part of Forty Days of Prayer for Carols. Many were. It is obvious. So many people praying specifically for 500+ lives to change sent Satan into overdrive trying to stop us. We all know that Satan loves sound equipment. He’s been messing with that stuff for years. He has hopped into lighting in a big way at times, as well. This year – traffic – tape -safety lighting -traffic (did I mention that already?) are taking a beating. He has worked over the altos – a virus and the flu and family illness. He started in on the sopranos today with the same. And poor Chip Wilbanks (Sanctuary Choir President) has a huge trial that is going into its third week starting Monday and he is vocally wasted.
He has stirred the pot on some other issues as well. Plus with every change we have attempted to make to more openly share the Gospel with our community we have experienced pushback from some quarter. If you know me, you will not be surprised that my response to this is “get over it – it is not about you. It is ALL about HIM!”
So as we complete the i-dotting and t-crossing this afternoon, continue to pray for every effort. We are tweaking. It is like a bunch of busy little beavers all over the church pulling wagons, pushing carts, installing last-minute lighting, watching the painter get ready for tonight (great story he has), moving costumes, cleaning up stuff, checking our lists, checking them again.
Pray for the new traffic flows into the building to work. Pray for a welcoming environment in the FHE Carols’ Coffee House. Pray for the ministry groups that are coming in tonight and that they will clearly hear the message. Pray for each other as we share the gifts we have been given to tell the story of Jesus.
Pray as well for flexibility, for the ability to listen quickly, and for your senses to be heightened to the needs of those around you. You never know who is watching you. You never know who God will pair you with when someone has a specific need (happened to me already this week).
I love and respect each of you. More importantly, God loves each one of you far more than I ever could. Count it all joy to serve Him this weekend and every day.
My favorite Christmas scripture is from the prophecy of Micah: “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago,from the days of eternity.” Therefore He will give them up until the time
when she who is in labor has borne a child.Then the remainder of His brethren will return to the sons of Israel.And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord,in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will remain,because at that time He will be great to the ends of the earth. This One will be our peace. (Micah 5:2-5a NASB)
“This One will be our peace.” What a promise. What a Savior! I am changed. Are you?
Still Choosing Joy!