I’m still giddy with excitement and overflowing with praise to God for what happened at our church on Sunday afternoon. We had Nick Vujicic of ‘Life Without Limbs’ speak to us. Nick is man who was born without arms or legs. Our church was packed beyond capacity, including an overflowing worship center and venue. Nick’s message was right on. He was clearly full of the Spirit and thus full of the power of God working in and through his life. Hundreds of people responded to his invitation at the end to ‘draw near’ to God. 26 people made first time decisions to follow Christ and each one of these people personally prayed with Nick and then with someone from our church. Nick remained afterwards for many hours and spent individual time with everyone who wanted to meet him – praying specifically for many needs. Perhaps this is Nick’s greatest ministry – the ministry of prayer. I’d like to invite our church people who were deeply moved and whose lives were changed that night to give God public praise. As we see God’s work among us, let’s respond with testimonies of worship. In reflecting on this experience, I have two observations to make. The first is that what we all observed on Sunday night was the power of God resting on a man who boasts in his weaknesses. His life parallels the passage of Scripture found in 2 Corinthians.
“ To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2Cor. 12:7-10, NIV)
Nick spoke of his time wrestling with the Lord as a child, asking him to make him different, to give him arms and legs like every one else. Yet God responded, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So Nick, at 24 years old, has decided to boast in his weakness and as a result, God’s power is resting on him. In fact, I have a feeling that the floodgates haven’t even been opened yet. Watchout world! Nick encourages me to join him in ‘delighting in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and difficulties.’ I’m not looking purposely for these things. They will find me. But how much time do I waste in prayer asking for God to deliver me or give something to me rather than to display his strength in and through me? Nick realigned my perspective, taking me deeper and more courageously into a journey that God began in me nearly 2 years ago when I entered the ‘era of overflow.’ I want to be a humble man who boasts in my weaknesses, spends my life in ministry to the weak, and remains in awe of God’s power that rests on me, accomplishing his will in and through my life. My second observation is that this evening was an answer to many prayers. First of all, many people in our congregation have been sensing a greater need for us to be openly, aggressively and unashamedly inviting people to make decisions for Christ. The greatest place this should happen is in our personal lives outside of ‘Sunday’ church. And yet, Sunday church is a place where this should happen as well. Many have been praying to that end, personally, in small groups, and in larger groups. I praise God that this event happened and I see it as an answer to these faithful prayers. Not discounting the 26 years of God’s work in and through Trinity, clearly God is leading our church into what I believe is a new era of fruitful ministry. Life Without Limbs was not a ‘calendared’ event, planned by the pastoral staff. The opportunity was presented by a member of our church, tenuously approved, and mostly overlooked by the pastoral staff until about a month before. I casually tried to remove myself from it and assigned another person to just lead a simple acoustic worship set. I almost missed the fact that God was going to move, but fortunately turned to Nick’s website and realized, “This guy is an evangelist!” I had made a big mistake. I wanted John & Tonya Mace and Mustard Seed to do the opening and closing music that night. I quickly prayed that it would work out for them to partner with Nick. Circumstances changed and the other worship leader had to cancel. Mustard Seed was available to do it. This happened within a few days of my prayer. Finally, I have prayed for years that we would find a local evangelist that my good friends John & Tonya Mace could work with. Their hearts beat for big evangelism events where the gospel is proclaimed and there is an altar call. Ever since I knew that this was their desire and gifting, I have prayed. I connected them to musicians that could form a band that could facilitate this ministry. One year later, it happens and all I can shout is, “PRAISE YOU LORD! Thank you for answering this prayer.” Perhaps Mustard Seed can work again with Nick – we’ll see. God, you are so good! In the words of one of my favorite overflow worship songs, “Let it rain. Let it rain. Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain!