Kellie called me about a half hour ago (6:45am today) and asked how I was doing. Instead of replying the typical way we do as Americans (“I’m fine”…even when we’re far from fine), I replied “Actually, I’m doing really, really good.” And I was not exaggerating.
I wanted to capture my thoughts about why I answered the way I did before they escaped me. So as I write this post, I am sitting in a McDonald’s in Milan at 7:38am. First, the reason I am in Milan… twice per month I am blessed to meet with Jesse Wilson, lead pastor of the Milan Vineyard. He is my church planting coach and his mentoring of me over the past several months has been priceless. Twice per month I get up extra early and hop in my car for a 90-minute trek past Ann Arbor to meet with Jesse.
Now typically when I drive anywhere, I listen to “podcasts” on my iPod — sermons from some of my favorite preachers and teachers. But the past couple of months I have had issues with my iPod so it has sat on a shelf. Instead of my mind being stimulated with truths from God’s Word, it has been filled with sports talk radio. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
A few days ago my iPod issues got resolved, so for the first time since November I listened to a podcast as I drove — a sermon by Greg Boyd called “The Wrestlers.” As I was driving down John R, I-75 and I-696, I began sensing the presence of God. I am not a mystical person by nature, so this doesn’t happen to me often, but when it does, it is a gift.
As I was driving I felt God smiling down on me. I felt Him telling me He is proud of what Kellie and I are doing. I felt Him cheering me on for my efforts as I pastor The Eastside Vineyard Church. I felt God saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
I can’t express in words how important those moments in the car were.
I have felt like a runner who has been sprinting a marathon since last March (when we felt God’s call to plant a church). And recently, I have felt like I hit the “wall” that marathon runners hit around the 18-mile mark. They are exhausted and can’t imagine how they could run 1 more mile, let alone the remaining 8. And then they get their “second wind” and finish strong.
I felt like God gave me my second wind in the car this morning. (And I am sure I’ll need a third wind and fourth wind in the upcoming months and years!)
As I was reflecting on why I had that God-moment in the car, I felt like He made it clear that it was because I was choosing to fill my mind with things of God rather than things of the world. I chose to turn off the radio this morning so my mind wasn’t filled to the brim with chatter about the upcoming Superbowl and the latest trade rumors involving the Detroit Pistons.
Instead of having my mind filled with those things, I made room for God to speak to me by listening to someone preach truths about God. I created space for God and He filled it.
It was so refreshing.
My encouragement to you is this — create space for God. Turn off the radio today when you drive. Turn off the TV at home and enjoy the silence. Put your cell phone out in the garage. Fast from Facebook. Do whatever it takes. Just “be still” and see what God does.
And yes, it’s possible to “be still” while driving 70 MPH down I-696.
***Please join this Sunday, January 30th at 6pm. This will be the next “sneak preview” service of The Eastside Vineyard Church. There will be a time of worship, an in-depth teaching from the Bible, communion, and an opportunity to receive 1-on-1 prayer. Go to tevchurch.org for all the details***