Like He Owns The Place

Well, I’m doing a terrible job of keeping up on blog entries. It’s partly because we’re busier now, since we’re up and running again now that winter break is over. And partly because not a lot of new “worth writing about” stuff has happened lately (more on that tomorrow, maybe).

I thought the Lord really blessed this weekend, though! We had our highest number yet this semester in attendance – a good bunch of first time visitors that we did better than usual at making connections with. We finished our “Unexpected” series, and the Chinese actually worked out. I really poured myself into it this week – writing out the whole manuscript of what I wanted to say, making sure I knew every vocabulary word, every sentence pattern, every story I would need to make it through that message completely in Chinese. Chines-ily speaking, that was a tough message. Lots of concepts to talk about, which are always harder than a bunch of action verbs.  

The Lord had taught me a lot in preparing for that message, and I was so excited and nervous about it. It’s a unique feeling – having a message that you know is life-changing, and knowing that you’re the sorry excuse for a mouthpiece God has chosen to use! The good thing about using your second language is you have far less delusions about your own capability! A lot more reliance and faith is necessary! It went pretty good (language-wise, anyway). I hit the half-an-hour mark and went for the closing prayer! I left out two illustrations, but I doubt anyone’s angry that I finished early.  

Both the “Unexpected” messages came from John 2. Sunday’s message was about Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. I think we say “cleansing” because that sounds nicer than “fighting,” but let’s be honest – He’s got a whip and some anger – He’s not doing the dishes. Not that I think Jesus actually hurt anyone, but He’s definitely on a mission. What a contrast with the previous story! At the wedding, Jesus fills the tables; at the temple, He knocks over their tables! And the biggest thing the story shows is the authority of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t give them a reason for why He chases them all out; rather, in doing so, He declares, “This is my temple, I have the right to do as I will.” Which is pretty much the Christian experience, isn’t it? Jesus comes in, knocks things around, messes up your plans, doesn’t answer your prayers, and He doesn’t even tell us why He’s doing it! But part of being God is having the power, wisdom, and authority to fill or flip the tables as you see fit. Anyway, we went on and talked about the reason for it and everything, but that’s the part that really got to me as I studied for this message. 

I have a week off of preaching next Sunday. It’s Easter, and I asked S. and T. to teach. So we’re going to split to two services again, and pray like crazy we’ve got some good attendances. This week we’ve finishing up their sermon preparations. This will be the first time for them to preach a “full-length feature message,” so they’re pumped. Then the next week we start our six-weeks series on Philippians (which I just forgot how to spell – Chinese is great, no spelling!).

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