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When God Gives You More – Thoughts From A Crazy Good God Weekend

It is Wednesday night and I’m still tired from the past weekend – even after having a couple days with family to chill and rest. It was a heavy weekend, but one where God showed Himself to be bigger – way bigger – than any plan I had put together in my feeble mind.

Background on the Weekend of April 11-14 (Friday – Monday)

For a bit of background, read this story in the Akron Beacon Journal about how God brought about a visit from guest pastor Adam DePasquale from the Newtown, CT area.

We planned to bring pastor Adam into town for the weekend of a Stop the Violence rally, which some amazing people planned well in advance of a big fight that broke out at Kenmore High School the day before the event and Pastor Adam’s arrival. On the same weekend of the rally, it was our hope to have Adam speak at our church regarding issues of grief and trauma.

The negative news of the fight turned into positive news for Saturday night’s Stop the Violence rally. A Channel 3 and a Channel 5 news crew both ran stories on Saturday night’s news.

See the WKYC Channel 3 story here.

See the WEWS Channel 5 story here.

When God gives you more – the weekend that didn’t go as planned.

The best way to describe the weekend was that it didn’t go as planned. I “planned” to enjoy some down time Friday morning. We “planned” to have some events designed to help individuals. Pastor Adam “planned” to come and encourage our local church and people in our community. I “planned” to bless about 40 of my ministry friends and contacts with encouragement for dealing with traumatic things in people’s lives.

Instead . . . God used the events of Friday (and some intentional interaction on social media) to bring coverage on good things happening in our community on Saturday.

Instead . . . God used the events we planned throughout the weekend not only to encourage individuals struggling with grief and trauma, but also to energize and unify the many efforts for peace in our community and in people’s lives.

Instead . . . Pastor Adam came to Akron and God used Him in very specific ways to encourage specific people. But, God gave more – He also used Adam to speak to issues that we as a community were wrestling with.

Instead . . . Pastor Adam’s challenge to a group of local ministry workers gave great individuals encouragement and encouragement to each of us to pray and unite in powerful ways with the larger body of Christ.

God gave more – way more – than we ever could have imagined when any of these events were planned. The perfect timing of the fight at Kenmore High School, other violent events in our community that week, the planning of the Stop the Violence Rally, Pastor Adam’s trip, and the obedience of human beings completely blinded to God’s plans all came together to produce a powerful and meaningful series of events that left me simultaneously drained and hungering for more!

Some lasting impressions:

1. God gets the glory, period.

Wow does God get the glory. Many people said it, and it’s 100% true. God orchestrated very encouraging events that were completely beyond our expectation or control. Glory!

2. Never be afraid to follow where God is leading.

I never could have imagined that sending an e-mail to a church in the middle of caring for a town in tragedy could have opened such doors. If you’re confused, refer to #1. But, don’t be afraid to be obedient. God uses little acts of obedience, and this encourages me greatly.

3. My prayer life will not be the same – ever.

What a challenge for unified prayer efforts! There is no “expert” ever, anywhere, about how to do anything related to following Jesus Christ that should start you anywhere but on your knees. God used Pastor Adam to bring that powerful reminder.

4. Human grief and trauma are extremely difficult, but not without hope!

When Pastor Adam described the moment when 20 families in Newtown found out their children wouldn’t be coming home, I and others in attendance felt the devastation in a real way. It was hard to fight back tears on their behalf.

This type of grief, a real, present human pain that is difficult to describe, lasts. As Pastor Adam explained, the issues relating to this tragedy will be in Newtown for 20 years or longer. This shouldn’t be a surprise.

But anyone struck with grief or trauma is not without hope. Adam talked bluntly about the peace of Jesus Christ that brings us to peace with God and with others. He courageously showed us that God is very present in our grief and desires to heal us and point us to eternal life. His undying devotion to Newtown inspired me and others through times we’ve wanted to give up. His honesty and courage challenged many in the times he spoke.

Closing

I praise God for this weekend. I don’t like the events that led to the weekend, but they’re real. God used this weekend to help individuals. God used this weekend to help our community. And, it was way more than any of us could ever have expected.

Comments

  1. The weekend with Pastor Adam from Newtown CT was very productive. Although God never wants those kinds of tragedies to happen, He can help us all to grow through them.

    I was encouraged that the relief funds have helped the whole town to get counseling over this and similar tragedies.
    And, more importantly, some people have come to faith in Christ as a result of the minstries after the Newtown tragedy.

    I am glad that the Akron community had the opportunity to meet Pastor Adam from Newtown. Thanks to Pastor Kevin for being his friend and helping to bring the Newtown ministry message to us:
    Jesus can help us and heal us in the tragedies of life

    Gail

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