Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Great Is The Love The Father Has Lavished On Us

In case you haven't figured it out yet...I'm a crier. For one, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.  I can never get away with anything!  But I'm especially a crier when it comes to the Lord.  I can't help it.  I go through seasons where I cry more than usual and now seems to be one of those seasons.  I can't sit through Sunday morning worship without balling.  When His Presence is so thick the tears start to fall.

Last Sunday I cried--not once, but twice.  I want to share one of these moments with you.  I've kinda been holding out on this post hoping that the service from Sunday or Christmas Eve would be on the podcast--but I think they are on Christmas break--so I'll go ahead and share with you and if they post it up, I'll let you know!

Robert & I are still learning the ropes here at RiverStone but one of the things we learned this week is that they take up a special Christmas offering each year.  The Sunday before Christmas the entire offering goes to a specific thing that they have prayed about and feel the Lord is leading them to bless.  In years past it has been a certain missionary or a missionary agency or even a new church plant.  This year was a tad bit different and I am so grateful that the Lord allowed us to be apart of a community that seeks Him so fervently.  

Last Sunday was the Sunday for this special offering.  As I sat within this new Body the Lord has us in, our pastor, Tom Tanner, stood up and started talking about the offering.  At first I found this odd.  The offering is never really mentioned on Sunday mornings.  During our first worship song after announcements they announce that if you are sitting in the center aisle, there is a basket under your seat, please get it and pass it down.  There are never any ushers and nothing else is ever said.  But this Sunday our pastor stood up and said (me paraphrasing of course)  "As you know we will be taking up our special offering--and then we are going to give it back to you.  We believe the Lord wants to bless His children here.  You will find a request form in your bulletin.  Please put your information and then list the top two needs you need the Lord to fulfill for you.  For example, we won't pay off your mortgage, but we will pay Decembers mortgage payment.  We are believing the Lord to bring in during this offering the same amount that is requested."  I sat there in my seat balling.  Not that we needed to fill out a form and we didn't because the Lord is still continually meeting everyone of our needs during the season He has us in, but because I could not get over the fact that I was sitting amongst people that believed Him for this.  That they believed He said this and He would do this. 

For those that requested checks, they could come by between 3-5 on that Sunday and pick up the checks that would be made out to the specific creditors for the specific amounts.  We were believing as a body to meet every need.

I was so excited to hear how the Lord moved, I asked first thing Monday morning what had happened.  But on Christmas Eve our pastor shared some specific stories.  The amount requested and the amount brought in during Sundays offering was almost the same and that amount was $75,000.  They were able to fulfill everyones number one needs and almost everyones number 2 needs.  Even to the point of one family wrote on their request form that they didn't know if they could do it, but they needed $100 for their baby's formula.  About the time of them reading this request, a lady walked in and handed them an envelope saying she missed that mornings offering, but wanted to give.  The envelope held $220.  They handed this envelope over to the couple requesting $100.  The daddy called later saying there must be a mistake and our pastor said, there was no mistake.  This happened for most.  The Lord not only paid peoples power bills, but anything they had past due.  The Lord not only provides for His children, but He provides abundantly!!!

I have just been absolutely amazed by this, that I had to share it with you.  This season (for more info on this season, click here) the Lord has had for us has not been the easiest one, but it's the one that I'm most grateful for.  He has not only provided for Robert & I, but He has provided abundantly for us.  He has lavished His good gifts upon His children.  My question to you is, are you believing Him for your needs.  One of my favorite verses is Psalm 37:4.  "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."  Most people skip the first part of this verse, quoting only the ladder--that He will give you the desires of your heart.  They leave out the first part--Delight yourself in the Lord.  We must delight ourselves in Him first.  The most amazing part is when we delight ourselves in Him--our desires line up with His. It's a beautiful union.

Enjoy Him today beloved.  "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!"  1John 3:1


Lee said...

Kristin.. this is incredible. thank you SO MUCH for sharing, I'm going to link this on my blog right now. THANKS THANKS THANKS!

kurt said...

Hey there. I am a little behind in my reading, but that is awesome. I wish I could be more of a crier! You should recommend that they put the christmas eve podcast on there because its still not there. I would love to here it. Hope yall enjoyed Onething. Cya soon.

steve and randel hambrick said...

LOVED the christmas offering! that is a true picture of how the church should function--- may stories like this become the norm not the exception!