We arrived in Austin on Saturday afternoon with some hope and expectation of a powerful experience. We gathered with about 300 other students and leaders to form ministry teams to go all over this great city and demonstrate the love of Jesus in numerous ways and to share the hope of the gospel. We wanted to see God move. We wanted to join in what God was doing.
We gathered in a room to worship and heard sounds most followers of Jesus don’t often hear – sounds of some 300 people who aren’t here to get away from home or to have a nice vacation or to see a different place or to have fun lifting their voices in praise and anticipation and expectant joy. It was the kind of praise where the worship leader sings the first line of the song and steps back from the mic to get out of the way and let the people sing their hearts out.
We spent a day worshiping together and planning and preparing. We organized and trained and strategized and adapted and rearranged.
And sweating… We’ve done an awful lot of sweating.
We didn’t just spread out in hopes that we would catch something. We deployed teams of students and leaders with specific assignments – washing cars in Jesus’ name, knocking doors and praying with people, giving kids an opportunity to see the image of their Creator in their own creativity, painting and rebuilding and repairing flood-damaged homes, offering some quarters and a kind word at a laundromat, and telling an entire community that there’s hope and life to be found right in their midst…and so much more.
As the work-day ended and we reassembled as one, our time began with sharing stories of the amazing ways we had the privilege of joining in what God was doing today as he lifted up the hopeless and comforted the hurting and made a genuine and observable difference in so many lives through a bunch of sweaty, awkward, joyous, willing tools. We heard how ten different people in this city opened their hearts to the hope that can only be found in Jesus.
And that ten is only representative of the hundreds of lives that were touched by the love of Jesus that was on display in the lives of these students and leaders today.
We went out to work with God like a snot-nosed kid on “bring-your-kid-to-work” day at the office downtown. We saw God do God-sized stuff and we got to be a part of it.
And the crazy thing is…our Father loves us so much that he asked us to come and join him in what he was doing and he took us along with him in what he was doing and he did all the work and we got to just go along…AND he promised us a reward for it as if we did it.
And as we sang and celebrated and worshiped and (some of us) cried, we were reminded that we are of immense value to our Father because we are his – what more significance could we ever need?
God brought us here to join him in showing his love to this city…and what powerful ways he has shown his love here in this city.
But…it’s only Monday.
He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126.6)