Sunday, July 8, 2012

Howler Monkeys, Death Wheels, & Apostle Paul

This Sunday Morning was a milestone for me. I have listened to thousands of men and women speak from pulpits, podiums, and stages but I have never delivered a full length sermon in front of  a live audience.

Our church, Journey Church has been telling the story of God through the New Testament and this week was The Travels of Paul and I was the featured speaker. And so, using Pastor Tom's template from last week, I typed out my words, converted them to bullet points on a slide, and then set out to try communicating with spoken word.

After receiving the nod from Adam, our House Band Leader, I made my way to the Journey stage as the bumper played on the screen. I walked up the steps, turned to face the people, and immediately heard feedback from my Madonna-style head-mic began with a deep groan and rumble. As the volume increased... I did the only thing I could think of...

...I opened my mouth in an "O" shape, stretched out my arms and pretended like the sound was emanating from deep within my core. I looked like a scrawny ape and sounded like a howler monkey. As the tech guys silenced the now ear-splitting feedback, I found myself surrounded by the laughter and smiles of the congregation.

I thanked God for the tension breaker and walked back towards the table and chair.
I sat down on the stool, opened my notebook... and witnessed the spinning wheel of death on my MacBook. I waited a few seconds in silence and then pulled out the only trick I had. I looked up and said, "let's pray." While the words that left my mouth sounded like, "let your story continue in our lives", the pray that sub-consciously shouted out to God was, "please let this computer work when I open my eyes!"

I said Amen, opened my eyes, and the slide show had loaded! It was only 60 minutes into my debut, and I had survived two near-crises. At this point I smiled, took a sip of my water, and launched into unknown territory.

I had prepared, and I had prayed... but I had no idea as to whether I might touch a heart, or simply fall off my stool. I do know this... I am thankful to God and to my church for the opportunity. It was incredible to get deeply into the story of Paul and to see the parallels in my own life.

We all are on a journey. We all are allowing God to continue His story in our lives. We all have a chance to have our eyes opened, to grasp the vision of God, and then to change our lives by the power of the encounter.

As to how I did... well, I have no idea. But I welcome you to be the judge.

<<Podcast of "The Travels of Paul">> This is a facebook link, but we are also on itunes. A new page has turned for this Roamingshepherd. Next week Kellie and I will be sharing our heart for Guate at a church in Hamilton, Ohio and the lord only knows what adventures await us there!

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