Sunday Night Rejoicings

I am always uplifted by the worship of God and the fellowship of his saints and service to others. I will never understand people who let their Enemy distract them and derail them from such things, because they deny themselves the very best things God has for them.

This weekend started with a glorious House of Prayer on Friday evening. God was definitely in the house, and the time of worship and prayer was wonderful.

Then, early Saturday morning I was one of many volunteers to show up at The Loft for the setup and preparation for the Back to School Bash. Cobblestone, working with other area organizations, provided a pancake breakfast, games, prizes, and 305 school backpacks and supplies to area children and families! It was such a huge blessing, such great fun!

Part of the day's celebration was a "Ride for the Children" that left from The Loft at 10:30, and returned at 2:30. Above is a photo of some of the bikers praying over and blessing the bikes.

This morning, there was SO much going on at The Loft. A large trailer was there to receive donations for next Saturday's Peru Missions Yard Sale; people were able just to bring their sale items when they came to worship and drop them off.

I also got to see pictures for the first time of the nine fresh-water wells in Burma that our Advent Conspiracy donations provided...they've all been dug, and Operation Blessing sent photos of each well and the people in the community using the well, each with a plaque on the well indicating that it was a gift from Cobblestone Community Church. Wow, what a blessing! I can't wait to show those around and share that joy with the people of God who did it!

This morning in worship, we studied Revelation 19-20, and I spoke on "The Last Word on Salvation." It is the first message I've ever given that required a costume change! For the first part of the message, I came onstage in a tuxedo (thanks, Mike Rudolph!), and issued the invitation, "Come to the Wedding" (from Revelation 19:1-10) after which we celebrated communion together from a beautifully appointed banquet table (thanks, Jackie Roy!), to emphasize the wedding supper of the Lamb:

After communion, I returned to the stage, this time in Army camo fatigues (thanks, Butch Sterwerf!) and issued the call, "Go out to War," from Rev. 19:11-21. Some of my favorite moments from that message:
  • The lovely Robin saying, "Hubba, hubba," when I came out in the tux;
  • “The moment we walk away from the Lord’s table, having received the life of our Lord, we walk into Armageddon, where we exercise the strength of our Lord.” (that's a quote from Eugene Peterson's Reversed Thunder)
  • "Salvation doesn't make us 'nice.' Salvation makes us warriors,"
  • "Salvation is not simply something that God does: it is something that God is doing, and not only for us but with us, enlisting us in the saving action….Eating a meal….fighting a battle…"
  • And the parallelism between the Bride receiving the fine linen, bright and clean, in Rev. 19:8, and the later depiction of the armies of heaven riding into battle wearing "fine linen, bright and clean," in Rev. 19:14! Wow.
But there were some things, many things in fact, that I couldn't mention or include in the message: like the fact (I would have loved to have had time to emphasize this) that the Bride of Christ riding out to battle as the armies of heaven is fighting the enemies of God, not each other--which ought to make us wonder, if we're fighting amongst ourselves, if we are on the right side!

And I LOVED Gary Smith's comment after worship. He said, "Did you notice that in that chapter, it's 'Eat...or BE EATEN?'" He's dead on! Either we sit down at the marriage supper of the Lamb, or we are among those whom Scripture says "were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh" (Rev. 19:21)! Yikes! What an insight: Eat or BE EATEN! I love it!

Oh, how I look forward to the day of the Lord, when all wrong will be vanquished, all injustice will cease, and all living things will rejoice and give God glory! Maranatha!

And now, very soon, The Third begins (at 7 p.m.) all-worship night led by Con Brio! Hope to see you there!

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