Response

The Storm is Never Larger than a Supernatural God

The Storm is Never Larger than a Supernatural God

Some days, life can be as crazy as standing in the middle of a hurricane and watching as things fly by. On others it can be as calm as sitting on a beach and listening to the peacefulness of the waves.

Whether someone is begging for the hurricane to be over or soaking in the stillness of the beach – JESUS is present.

This particular Saturday afternoon was one that lands, somewhat, in a place that seemed close to the madness of a storm. At the time, I was sitting in this random room in a church, and it was as if I was aching for peace. 

There were empty light brown metal chairs everywhere in the room. I observed my surroundings as a sea of teenagers barged in from outside. They separated into every direction. Whispers filled the little room as we waited for the evening to start. 

With my family in ministry and growing up in church, I had been to many of these church gatherings before.

… so I told myself that it was going to be just like the rest of them.

I found my seat next to some friends and fell into small conversation. As I became uninterested in the girls’ discussion minutes later, I began to focus on the soft background music.

I recognized the song and as it played through my head, my friend leaned over and told me how excited she was. I began to that maybe, just maybe, this one would be different than the others, but my mind instantly shook the thought away.

Shortly after, the music began to die down and a man walked to the front of the stage. His walk seemed like it was slow-motion, and I could feel the atmosphere heighten as the room grew quieter.

The man introduced himself as the youth pastor and welcomed everyone. I scrambled in my seat to get a better look at the pastor and the many other people that filled the room.

He passionately spoke about how much God loves every single one us and I somehow felt like he was talking directly to me. I got this calming feeling as I intensely listened to him talk about how great God is (I mean who wouldn’t). 

I suddenly started feeling slightly uncomfortable in my seat.

In a way I know the Lord is trying to speak to me in this exact moment, but as I look at my friends, I can read their blank expressions.

The music began to softly play behind the pastor’s words; as he began to close his message, his words started to pull me back in. Then he asked us to stand.

As I found a good position to see over the crowd in front of me, the pastor made direct eye contact with me. I got a warm chill through my body.

In a split second, it seemed like time stood  s t i l l.

I No Longer Need an Amen

I No Longer Need an Amen

I preached my first Sunday message to adults when I was 16 years old. My sermon was about learning to hear God’s voice using the story of Mary Magdalene and Jesus after his resurrection as my main text.

If you can believe it, I paired my message with a short monologue (talk about awkward) because it was the mid 2000s, and the human video/drama age was still alive and thriving in small and big churches alike.

I’ll forever honor the great man – my pastor for 20+ years – who instilled courage in me, saw God’s calling on my life to teach and preach, and gave me an opportunity to do so at such a young age.

Many communication lessons came with that first night in front of an attentive church – yes, with one of them being don’t do a monologue in the middle of your message. What I remember surprised me the most though is how vocal listeners were to express themselves.

From a teenager’s perspective, a common theme appeared. The church seemed more vocal at certain points in the message. Well thought out points and thoughts were received with claps, outspoken “mmhmm’s” and clear “Amen’s.” So in conjunction, one newly experienced speaker could also assume not doing such a good job would result in quietness… right?

So then and there, the measurement scale was drawn:

Loud, vocal church = good, effective preaching

Quiet church = better luck next time preaching

Watching my favorite pastors online, this measurement scale still seems to be effective.

Even today, my top speaker to listen and learn from is Steven Furtick, and from the observation of his congregation, he does an incredible job! The atmosphere is electrifying. People are hungry to hear God’s Word. They hang on his every thought and explanation. No one seems bored. The feedback is great. Church is lively and vibrant.

So if that’s the standard, my only conclusion has always been “Preach like that.”