Monday, April 25, 2011

Stuttering Crier

Click the "Send" button and your message can be read within seconds...on the other side of the world. Hit speed dial and you can be talking "instantly" to someone in another you both drive along life's highways. Watch earth-shaking news (like the Japanese tsunami) as it happens.

It wasn't always this way. For centuries, one of the readiest forms of transmission for critical news was the "Town Crier." "Oyez, oyez (literally "Listen, listen")!" they would cry in the streets. When print media became more readily available, Criers were replaced by boys hawking papers: "Extra! Extra! Read all about it!"

Today, in our "advanced" civilization, we have need of neither Crier nor hawker; we have Twitter. Or Facebook. Or Google Ad Words. I know. I read them. Almost every day. Some of what I read on Easter weekend has me reflecting on why I am a "stuttering crier." Other pastors told of lives being changed in their churches. The reports I read were in awe of the way God is at work. I never sensed anything but reverent joy on their part.

Therefore, on this Easter Monday, I will not stutter. I will boldly proclaim what happened in Stone Ridge Church this past weekend. Only God can accomplish what we saw, so I am joyfully shouting His praises. Here are the highlights...

* 31 people baptized (more are preparing to be baptized soon)

* Almost 1400 in attendance

* Scores of young families came, many for the first time. Young adults keep bringing their friends and God is changing their lives. In turn, they are bringing other friends and the process keeps multiplying.

* We were gripped by the presence of God. In every service. At every baptism. People were giving their hearts to Jesus in the auditorium and out in the courtyard.

Perhaps the final moments of baptism after the last service said it best. Juan, an elderly man who is very ill watched his grandkids being baptized. Juan gave his heart to Christ not long ago. After seeing his family members and others baptized, he told his son, "I have never seen anything like this. I want to be baptized, too!" Because of his medical condition, some of us met on Sunday afternoon to baptize him in the jacuzzi of one of our leaders. As tears flowed, Juan modeled obedience to Christ's command.

Only God!