Well, it's been a while has it not. I sort of missed blogging and didn't miss it all at the same time.....
Last Sunday morning was amazing. I don't mean "amazing" as in what all pastors are supposed to say about their church services in the week following, I mean really breath taking.
We baptised six people. (Yeah I know, kind of like buses, nothing for ages (12 months in our case) and then loads come at once). I knew them, of course, and I knew their stories but it was only when I was standing in the water, hearing them share their story and make significant affirmations about their faith in Christ before the congregation that I was really confronted by the sheer grace, goodness and power of God. Six people; a cross section of ages, backgrounds and Christian experience, some knowing the Lord for a long time, others for just a short time, all declaring how God had saved them for a new life with Him.
They say that the person with an experience is rarely at the mercy of a person with an argument. It was certainly a powerful witness to the many non-believers who were present.
In the evening I was leading the service. I was speaking about Holy Communion and how it was like a birthday party and a high speed train (great images I'd picked up from Tom Wright). Anyway, just as we're about to start, my younger son Jack who was playing bass in the band, swallowed his plectrum and began to choke. He was whisked out the back and a medic started the old Heimlich Manoeuvre. Meanwhile I'd spotted a guy in the congregation who I was pretty sure was medical consultant (he'd never been to LBC before) and he came to join the fray. Anyway, long story short, he stopped choking and was taken to Southampton A & E.
Meanwhile I cracked on with the service. Singing hymns about the faithfulness of God and preaching on His real presence with us was all the more poignant knowing Jack had had a very narrow escape and still wasn't out of the woods.
Is God only faithful and His grace only effective when things go well....what if things had turned out differently as they so easily could have done....? With Spurgeon I believe (I hope in all circumstances) that in trials the sovereignty of God is the pillow upon which I lay my head. And what's more the simple fact is that the only reason, any of us, ever take a next breath at all is because of the mercy and grace of God. It's only because of Him....
So an eventful day that started, and ended, well.....by His grace.