First service Sunday morning, July 24 Liza had a word from the Lord about preparation time being over, she had no idea that while that word was coming through her it had great meaning for me. As she was sharing the word I was taken back to a time when I led worship many years ago, Hank was on the keyboard and we would often sing a song called, Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord. It was one of my favorites and not just because it was in my key, which was very helpful back then.It was a favorite because I believed my calling was calling during that particular song. I believe I am called to prepare the way of the Lord by testifying about Him and preparing hearts to receive Him.
Planting a church has a whole lot to do with preparation and it looks like farming, plowing a field, removing stones, planting crops, watering soil, and stewarding the seed. When Oz and I planted The River Church I can tell you that I had very little understanding of what we were doing, I was just putting one foot in front of the other week after week. We did very little intentionally, we were full of zeal and love for God and wanted others to know Him and that was what compelled us. We loved people and wanted them to have a church where God could be experienced, not just learned about. Encounters were the goal because when we encounter the one true and living God, everything changes.
I was very impatient in those early years, I wanted everything God had shown us would happen NOW! I did not understand the preparation that was going on and I did not understand how to glean all I could through each season. I honestly don’t think many people do understand until we have hind sight. So Sunday when Liza declared that preparation time was over, I realized I had prepared the ground for decades for the Lord to build upon and what a thrill it was to be part of the ministry last week when I saw the body of The River minister to one another. It was not ministry revolving around Oz or Jane, it was ministry revolving around Jesus and Jesus flowing through so many all at the same time. It was so beautiful, sweet and powerful. Thank you all for walking into that with us, you are a great church!
I now see preparation time as precious, gracious and necessary. God has time, He is not in a hurry but He holds time in His hands and our participation has a lot to do with when things are fulfilled. We call that participation, partnering with God. It is not just doing, it is a heart issue where we choose to partner, agree with and do what He is doing. It is when I take my dreams and ideas and lay them before Him as my Lord and ask Him to take the dreams He gave me and show me what is next. How do I begin to walk out these dreams and what steps do I take?
As a Father He is patient, and filled with grace for us to learn and to develop so that we can be part of the fulfillment of these dreams because He wants us to work together and grow together and trust each other through the process not just reach the goal. Our relationship with Him through the process is precious to Him and becomes precious to us. I used to resist preparation time, I thought it was too long and meant that I had a lot to learn and if I could just figure things out I would be through the prep time and get to the goal. Maybe you feel that way too.
Joyce Meyers has a book called, Enjoying Life on the Way to Where You are Going. Her TV show is called, Enjoying Everyday Life. A concept she has had to learn and one that I completely relate to. Life is all the things along the way. So as our preparation time comes to a close I am thankful for the moments, the planting and and gathering. I press toward the next and pray that I have learned to rest in the process and seek the relationship with God over anything else.