This past Sunday I had the honor of delivering the messages at our church while Pastor Chad, our regular pastor, was enjoying some much deserved vacation. My guess is when you see me use the word honor, you'll think I'm referring to how I felt to have our pastor ask me to fill in for him. Oh, believe me, I am human and my ego and pride often get ahead of me, so I had my moments when his request got me to feeling pretty good about myself. But in the more reflective moments, especially as I prepared the message, I was able to see the true honor in this opportunity.
I've told many people that the decade of my 40's has been the best decade of my life. And although you would be more than partially right if you guessed this is because that's when our two boys were born, you would fall short of identifying the critical link and the ultimate reason I claim this. The births of our sons has unleashed a sense of wisdom I have never experienced prior to their arrival. And when you begin to live what you feel is a wise life, it becomes filled with meaning.
Now before anyone jumps to any conclusions, I need to clarify that I'm not claiming that since I turned 40 I've turned into this wonderful human being. Even with wisdom I make a lot of stupid decisions that look a lot like ones I made when I was thirty. Thank God a lot of them don't look like the ones I made when I was 20, and we won't even go into the ones from my teens. But to me wisdom is coming to understand how all the previous events in my life, both painful and pleasant, have been weaved together as an answer for who I am today and the overwhelming influence on the choices I make.
The greatest part of that sense of wisdom is the recognition that the events in my life just didn't fall into some kind of meaningful order; they were weaved. So when I stood before our church family delivering a message that was shaped by many tough times in my life, as well as some true blessings, I knew beyond a doubt that God had been preparing that message for many decades. To be able to serve as the voice for that message - and to so clearly see its birth - that was a true honor.
Many of you offered love and support as I prepared the message, and many of you who heard it shared kind words afterwards. I am grateful to all of you.
Below I have captured the general spirit of the message. The video is the one used to introduce the message, and below that is the message I delivered. What follows that is the recording of the message from the first service.
Please know I am grateful for each of you who take the time to read this and listen to the message, and to a God that has seen fit to merge some small portions of the stories of our lives into something meaningful and pointed toward His purpose for us.