My husband and I just returned from a wonderful weekend in NYC. We enjoyed spending time with our daughter and experiencing her neighborhood--especially all its culinary delights. The view from the roof of her apartment building was magnificent.
On Sunday morning we went to the Brooklyn Tabernacle. I've wanted to visit there for a long time and it was more than I imagined. It might even top the list of all the worship experiences I've had.
It was a great start to see the announcement of Brooklyn Tabernacle's participation in Operation Christmas Child. There's nothing like that to put me in the mood to worship.
What I liked best was being in the midst of such a diverse group of believers all worshipping together. The singing was praise-filled and strong and the voices weren't overpowered by the instruments.
The worship time was extended in a time of extemporaneous Spirit-led praise that was simply amazing. I'll admit it--I usually get a bit freaked out when people speak in tongues around me, but in that service it felt perfectly natural. I generally find it hard to participate when worship leaders ask us to vocalize extemporaneous praise but that flowed easily, too. God's presence was nearly palpable.
Jim Cymbala's message reminded us we are God's temple--His dwelling place and His place of rest. His sermon was clear and simply conveyed. Our voices joined together loud and strong as we all lifted our joined hands and sang, "Oh the glory of Your presence; we Your temple give you reverence; so arise from Your rest and be blessed by our praise as we glory in Your embrace, as Your presence now fills this place."
Jim Cymbala said when the Brooklyn Tabernacle was being built he leaned against one of the posts and cried out to God that he never wanted to have a famous choir or be known for the preaching but asked that when people left this church they would know that God was there. And on Sunday, oh, yes--He was!
One of the blessings I've had is the chance to pray for several people around the country who are having large packing parties for the first time. One of those packing parties took place on Saturday in Florida. I remember praying with Christy over the phone several months ago and giving her the only advice I have--trust God and see Him do what only He can do.
Christy and her team got to see God work in amazing ways this Saturday. They'd planned to pack 6,000 boxes but Christy realized as she did final preparations for their party that God had provided enough items to pack way more boxes. They changed their goal to 9,500 and had to prayerfully get extra boxes from around the state. God provided a wonderful new camp to host their party and they had 400 volunteers throughout the day. Best of all, during their gospel presentation and invitation 40 youth made decisions for Christ. Now that's something to get excited about! Who can have more fun than we do?!
Our trip came to an end too soon. While we were in NYC I got a call from a trucking company and made a delivery appointment for Monday morning to have a pallet of pens delivered. So...at 10:30 on this bright, sunny fall day we received another pallet of praises.
We sorted the rest of the hats today and moved things around to receive a truck load of donated cases of paper this evening. This evening we made a second trip back to get the 40 cases of paper loaded into that already-filling container.
That container is, itself, a temple of sorts--filled with answers to prayer and "the glory of Your embrace."
We Your temple give You reverence...