So I woke up one mid winter Sunday morning here at home. Sunday mornings are generally reserved for church, or for a better word, time with the Lord. On this late July morning it was slightly warmer, In fact the idea of walking the 20 mins to the church was awfully appealing. The sun neither warm, nor cool, a gentle breeze without chill made it beautiful. A walk through the park on the way was worth it alone. The birds chirping, singing, on this most beautiful winter’s morning was something I was instantly thankful for. You see sometimes it’s the little things that remind us of how thankful we are for life. This morning felt like one of those occasions.
A cross of the always humming along Parramatta Road left about 5 mins before i hit the coffee shop. The people in here are generally family, it’s a family run business. They are good people worth a good chat. We chat coffee naturally and how easy it was for me to rid myself of sugar in my coffee. The Barista himself is not so fortunate. Generally 4 cups a day, all with some small amount of sugar. Coffee now in hand i walk the last few mins off to Haberfield Baptist Church further down the road.
After greeting a few of the regulars inside, i sit down at a table where i’ll run the data projection this morning. This basically means i’m the guy in charge for the song words you see on the big screen all morning. For me it’s a small role but an important one. Many will rely on you as you guide their eyes through each song that morning.
With still 15 mins before the morning service i pull away from a conversation with two of the guys to text a good friend. I discover on my coffee cup the phrase
“TALK TO ME AFTER COFFEE”.
I send her a photo of this as a joke. Not really thinking much of the phrase other than it’s a cheeky joke at her expense. The phrase though sticks with me and it’s then that it begins to take on a new meaning. The service is probably now 5 minutes away when i realise i could view the phrase on the coffee cup as something more than a cheeky joke. You see in recent months our Pastor Matt has been encouraging us to seek God in new ways. One of those is in the prophetic. Now call it coincidence perhaps but was something prophetic in the words on that coffee cup? Perhaps?
Here i was, the church service about to start with the phrase “Talk to me after coffee” on my mind. Yes, i was thinking that perhaps God had opened my eyes and mind to the expectation that he would be talking to me this morning and that i should be listening.
Preaching this morning was the always insightful and entertaining Lisa. Lisa has a good way with words which always effectively challenges us each time she speaks. This morning’s sermon is on Grace. Grace is a topic we’ve heard plenty about in 2018 at church, and in a good way of course. For me it’s been an effective tool for my own faith. It’s certainly made a telling difference for me.
Grace is a topic that hasn’t always been easy for me to get my head around. I understood the definition of Grace and why we received it but i could never truly believe that i had earned the right to receive it. Sin has a way of making you feel this way. It can feel like Groundhog Day. Like “why am i back at the same place in life, yet again?”. Have i not learned from the countless previous lessons? Feeling like this would always lead me to inevitable questions about weather or not i was truly receiving Grace the way it was intended.
As the service progressed this morning Lisa would say something which resonated with me. Something that for myself i had learned in my own quest to understand God’s Grace.
“For us to truly understand Grace we can’t define it, we need to experience it.”
This is a lesson I’ve learned myself in the past 12 months. Where previously i would struggle with the idea of whether i was deserving of God’s Grace, I’ve found myself in a position today where I have finally understood and now lived the idea of what it means. I don’t feel weighted down by my sin, i don’t carry it any longer and i feel better for it. There’s no one time i can think of where i can say i finally understood it, but over time i know that i began to truly understand it properly and i have no doubt that the sermons in church in recent months are part of the experience of Grace and understanding it the way it was intended.
It’s crazy, yet very cool to see the way God works in our lives. It not always the way you imagine, or the way that makes most sense but when you see the footprint of him in your life it’s all the evidence i need that he’s still very much in control. This particular Sunday was one of those days where being thankful for God is the very least i could be. For it was a reminder that i am on the right path, with evidence to prove it and encourage me to keep moving in this direction. That’s how journeys are intended. There’s a start and end point. But what happens in between is anyone’s guess, except for God. He’s navigating it moment by moment and none of it is an accident.