Sunday, August 31, 2014

Joy in Worship!

"Don't know where you worshiped this morning, but I know you couldn't have had a more moving, complete joy than we have at Second Baptist!"

Yes, I tweeted that in the middle of the worship service at Second Baptist Church this morning. Pastor Joseph Stone, Jr., had already given the go-ahead. He sometimes says things so striking that he says, "Go ahead, tweet that!" Preachers often are led to say something in the middle of their sermons that they had not worded quite the same way in their preparation. Then, we say, "Thank you, Holy Spirit," and proceed with the inspiring thought that just came to us.

Before we had gotten to the sermon, I was moved to tweet that thought. Let me give you the rationale.

We had had a baptism of a new member who did not have the same skin tone or ethnic identity as the majority of the congregation. [Note that I self-consciously do not use the word "race," since I believe there is only one race, the human race.] #diversity

The call to worship had been followed by a scripture reading and impassioned prayer by the deacons.

We had a vocal and piano solo by Ms. Freddie Norwood, a gifted musician whose voice was made for singing.

We had a precision drill team marching and dancing to the theme of Romans 16:20, "God . . . shall bruise Satan under your feet!"

We had a children's choir accompanying the adults with a tremendously moving, harmonious rendition of Amazing Grace.

And, when I tweeted, we were in the middle of the exposition of the text in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas were in jail for healing a demon-possessed girl, and were praying and singing praises to God.

It only got better as Pastor Stone began the application section of the message, where we were admonished to look at our own situations and consider whether we were praising and praying in those mental prisons (thought patterns) we lock ourselves into, or find ourselves in.

The invitation was responded to by more than 100 souls who indicated their desire for change (repentance) in their lives.

After more prayer, we ended the fifth Sunday service with fellowship and food. Normally, it is dinner on the grounds, but, because of the soaking rain from the previous day, and lack of indoor space, box lunches had been prepared and were distributed to all.

As I said, " . . . I know you couldn't have had a more moving, complete joy than we have at Second Baptist!" this morning.

[Doctrinally-aware readers might notice there was not a communion service, and suggest the joy might have been more complete if we observed the ordinance. Maybe so. But the Lord said, as often as you do this, giving us latitude.]

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