On Sunday night I had the privilege of preaching my very first sermon. I’ve spoken from the pulpit before, but always sharing something about my life. This time, however, was part of the study we have been doing on I Corinthians. My passage was from chapter 12, where Paul talks about spiritual gifts, and their giver, the Holy Spirit.
I had let some of my friends know so they could be lifting me up in prayer. As people started arriving, several who do not typically attend that worship service came to hear me speak. It was humbling (and frankly a little unnerving!) to look out and see many who have been walking with me for many years.
When I first came to First Pres, I came for a lie. My dad was coming to visit, and I needed to pretend I had not wandered from my faith. So, I looked up Presbyterian churches in the phone book (the last church I’d attended in NC was Presbyterian). The week before my dad came to visit, I went to the church. I get lost everywhere I go, and knew that if I got lost with him in the car it would be very obvious I’d never been there before! Seriously, maintaining a lie is exhausting!
The sanctuary was not terribly full at that 8:30 a.m. service, and I sat down midway. Sitting close to me was a couple who greeted me warmly. The woman, especially, made me feel like she had been waiting to meet me for years. Maybe she had, because since that first meeting Mona has become my ‘adopted’ mom, spiritual mentor, cheerleader, encourager, prayer warrior and friend.
That Sunday morning the church was promoting something called Alpha – a basic study about Christianity. “Something” made me decide to sign up. Just like “Something” made me choose a seat in just the right place to meet Mona. Something has been with me, even when I was not aware. Through Alpha I started to take my first faltering steps back to faith. And that same Something was there.
What a privilege to speak about that “Something” on Sunday night! Because, of course, that Something is not a “thing” at all, but the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who points us to Jesus, and helps us grow in our relationship with Him. The Holy Spirit who is alive and well and moving in powerful ways. He is in the really big things, like the 3,000 new believers proclaiming Jesus each hour of each day (check out joshuaproject.net and prepare to have your mind blown by how amazing God is!).
The Holy Spirit is also in the seemingly small things, like where a person sits for an hour. Because that first hour began the changes that continue to move me now. Never take for granted the small stuff. So often it’s all the small stuff that leads to the big stuff. As I face this new big step, I praise God for the Holy Spirit who has been guiding each small one. I encourage you to look at your big and small stuff, and see if you don’t find the Holy Spirit there, too!