Last spring I was asked to speak at a conference in Texas. I did two plenary sessions, a youth session, and a session for pastors. The pastor’s session was held in a home on a lake. It was a beautiful morning. April in Michigan is often still winter-like but April in Texas was warm and flowering and green and spring, even summer-like. A large picture window afforded a view of the trees along the water.
The pastors filled every square foot of the the large living room and dining room. I had prepared a talk I called “The Village Parson.” I told the men that none of us were likely to have the ministry footprint of Charles Spurgeon but we could be the village preacher that Spurgeon always wrote to in his commentaries on the Psalms. We may not be visited with obvious success. They may not ask us to speak at the annual conference. They may not write up our story in the denominational magazine, but with God’s help we can be faithful and fruitful.
While I poured out my heart to the men to encourage them I had a growing sense of a special presence of the Lord filling the room. At the end of my hour I introduced the next speaker. He had not been present in the first hour but when he began to speak I could tell that he preached with unusual unction. I had heard him many times, but never before had I heard him speak with such obvious anointing. It was as if he was carried forward by the spirit present in the room. At the end of his talk I introduced the third speaker and I had to leave to speak in another session in another place.
The driver, a young man named David Waller, was the conference coordinator. He had been in the pastor’s sessions. We drove away quietly. For a while neither of us spoke. Finally David broke the silence and said; “Did you have a special sense of the presence of the Lord in that session?”
“I did. So powerfully.”
We drove on for a while in silence basking in the warmth of it.
I have often thought of that humble meeting of pastors by the lake and the powerful sense of the presence of the Lord we enjoyed. There was something in that simple meeting that no audio-visual specialist, no high-powered motivational expert, no enthusiastic leader, no denominational initiative can produce. It was just a small cluster of prayerful men humbly desiring to be used of the Lord lead their families and churches to follow Jesus. There was a great sweetness in it, a pleasing sense of joy.
I have often thought since then to seek the blessing of the Lord in our meetings and endeavors and wait quietly for the manifest presence of the Lord. What we need only God can do.
Albuquerque, New Mexico
June 7, 2016