Thursday, November 06, 2008

Mistake Becoming a Blessing

Ever found yourself somewhere you do not belong? Ever think you were in the right place only to realize ten minutes later you are in the wrong place? This is what happened to me last Friday night.

Last Friday night my father, two sons, and myself went to our hometown's final football game of the season (which they won and ended their season undefeated, NICE). I really enjoy going, not so much for the football, but for the fact that I get to spend some time with my dad plus Ethan and Luke get to play with their friends during the games. As I mentioned before, Hamilton won the game over a Christian school whose band played Black Sabbath's Paranoid, Ozzy Osbourne's Crazy Train, and Metallica's Enter Sandman for their halftime show. I got quite the chuckle from that one. During the romp, the p.a. man made an announcement that Hamilton Church of Christ was hosting the Fifth Quarter at Maywood Christian Camp following the game. Now, let me explain. Ryan Gallagher, the fantastic youth minister at Hamilton Church of Christ, requested my churches assistance with the fifth quarter (a meeting of young Christians for fun and worship following football games) during this upcoming football season. Unfortunately, my church was unable to assist and I really felt bad about this because it is such a huge responsibility. Ryan has handled it expertly but still, I feel bad. Well, when I heard that announcement at the football game I thought to myself that it would be nice to show my support to Ryan and his mission for Christ by going with my sons. So, there on the spot, I decided that we would go.
The football game became a blowout and was decided by the opening moments of the third quarter. Well, I asked my dad if he was ready to leave, which he was, and we gathered the boys and left. I dropped dad off at home and decided that we would just head on out to Maywood and maybe spend some time with Ryan and help whoever was prepping the event. I told Ethan and Luke our plans and they were busting at the seams to get there (they LOVE Maywood).
So we make the ten minute drive to Maywood and at the entrance there is a sign pointing to where the fifth quarter was being held so we kept driving and as we rounded the corner that hides the pavilion there my heart rejoiced as I saw maybe 80 to 130 people sitting there. As we neared, I rolled the windows down and my sons and I were embraced by the unmistakable warmth and sound of pure a capella worship. I was thinking to myself: "This is great!!! I can't believe that Ryan is having this good a turn out at these things. The games not even over and look at all these people. I am so glad we came." I said to Ethan and Luke, "This is going to be awesome," as we pulled into a parking place by the pond. As quickly as possible we all exited the vehicle and began walking to the pavilion and I said to Ethan and Luke, "you hear that singing, that's what Heaven will sound like. Please make sure you behave and sing when we sing, pray when we pray, and listen when someone is speaking about Jesus."
We say down as the song leader started singing "Here I am to Worship." What timing! Here we were and I was more than excited to worship my lord with such dedicated young Christians. As we sung I noticed some of the young people were reaching their hands up to Heaven as they sang. I thought to myself, "wow, Ryan even has the kids from The Ramp here. I didn't know the kids from there knew how to sing harmonies." As the song leader sang a few other songs I began to look around. I quickly noticed that I did not recognize any of the faces there. Where was Ryan? What about Kay? Callie? Kalyn? I didn't know any of them and the few I made eye contact with didn't seem to recognize me too much later despite my best Hi-How are ya head nods. Then the song leader said "It's so great to be here this weekend..." Weekend? I thought the fifth quarter just lasted a couple of hours. OH NO!!! I was in the wrong place. The fifth quarter was somewhere else. I didn't even have an exit strategy.
Then it happened. Then my realization that I wasn't in the wrong at all occurred. The song leader stopped singing and asked all there to bow their heads. He then proceeded to lead the congregation in a beautiful ACTS prayer but not just by speaking. He calmly and quietly spoke to us while we prayed and led us through what sort of adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication we should lay at out loving God's feet. He kept the prayer on a level that young people could relate to and I was touched by his sincerity. My confirmation that I had been blessed in my error was not complete though. It was complete when I peeked with one eye to make sure my sons were not hanging from the poles or cutting up. As I peeked my senses were flooded with one of the most beautiful images I had ever seen. Beside me, on this frigid night sat my two sons, both with their heads bowed and hands clasped praying a prayer to God. No, I could not see their minds or hear what they were praying, but I know that they were being led in prayer by this fantastic young man who was serving the Lord on this night and that they were making meaningful and sincere communication with our God. I realized that I was not out of place, WE were home. This was where we belonged. No, that IS where we belong.
Following the prayer I simply stood up, took my sons by their hands, and we walked away. We got back in the car and saw another sign that pointed to the fifth quarter. It was up by the putt-putt dream course. I came to find out that it was actually a club from Freed Hardeman University whose worship we encountered (that sounds so much nicer than interrupted). All I can say though is that what I initially viewed as a mistake was actually a blessing. If you were part of that club who met at Maywood on October 31, 2008 please allow me to thank you. You blessed my family and I hope that all of you continue to grow in the Lord. To the worship leader specifically, thank you. Please continue to share your talent and be bold in your ability to bring people to the feet of the throne. Please, if you read this and you were part of that group or know someone who was send them this link as I would love to share with them the blessing that nothing but their simple worship poured on me.


Jason said...

Yeah. I told this story to my niece and she remembered you and the boys coming up there. She told me she thought you looked a little confused but interested.

I remember those days well - fall retreats at Maywood - little did I know that my family would live in the same small town that created so many fond memories in college.

One more thing, Dave - there is plenty of space on for paragraphs. No need to feel like you are wasting space! :)

Dave Brumley said...

I promise I use paragraphs when I compose. For some reason they don't translate onto the page though. Tab doesn't work and I am not pressing the space bar five times.

Andrew said...

Thank you so much for writing this. I'm a member of Chi Beta Chi, the club you encountered. I'm so glad you were able to worship with us! It's encouraging to know that not only were members of our club impacted but others as well. It is always a blessing to worship with such sincerity and rapport.

Dave Brumley said...

Thanks Andrew. I often look for younger members of the church who are going to lead. I think I found some of them that night. Fight the good fight man.