My daughter was nocturnal! Or so it seemed. When she was still in a crib, it used to take my wife and me literally hours to put her to bed. The only thing that comforted my little Caroline was feeling our hands on her back as she breathed.
At first it was cute. After a few weeks of this, it became annoying. My daughter must have had the most sensitive back on the planet. Because every time we started to remove our hand, she would wake up and start crying.
Don’t worry. I had a creative solution! Instead of bending over her crib for hours at a time, I invented a tool that, although I’m not necessarily proud of, was ingenious to say the least! I stuffed one of my winter gloves with socks and attached it to a ruler, which was attached to her crib. I would then slowly and gently replace my hand that was on her back with the glove that was attached to the crib… and presto! I could leave the room. Two birds. One glove!
This worked a few days until my quick learning daughter picked up on dad’s lazy trick. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted!
But this event made me think about God and us. (Hang with me here, you’ll see the connection.)
When you study the early church – especially the explosive church of Antioch – the key characteristic of these believers was the “hand of the Lord was with them” (Acts 11:21).
This “hand of the Lord” was really the favor of God poured out on them because of a special work that He wanted to do IN them and THROUGH them.
But I wonder how many times we, as modern day believers, settle for our churches experiencing our feeble attempts at “manufacturing” the hand of the Lord through our creative programs, organization, creativity, websites and weekend “performances.” Who are we kidding? When we try our best to maneuver the Holy Spirit to “work” through these artificial means, it’s like we are stuffing a giant glove with socks hoping our church won’t figure out!
Sadly though, there are many churches who have actually grown numerically but have not truly experienced the “hand of the Lord” in their midst in YEARS!
I’m praying for a generation of Christ followers who will never settle for second best. Let us never accept artificial favor from manufactured means.
Let us press into Jesus and not let go until we receive authentic blessings, genuine favor and the true hand of the Lord upon our lives!
P.S. I preached on this topic this past weekend (9/1-2/12) at Grace Church…You can see the video HERE. The message is week 2 of the “Project Antioch” series the title is “Numerous Life-Changes.” Hope you enjoy.