If you build it, He will come.
God rarely answers our prayers the way we expect or in our timing, but He always answers in His perfect way and in His impeccable timing.
In today's blog, I am sharing my piece of the story of the 2016 C5 Easter.
In the months building up to Easter, we have been distracted. Distracted by good things like revamping every ministry in the church, growing people, and experiencing many open doors for new ministry in our city. But we have also been distracted by money problems, delays in breakthrough and waiting for completion of a financial restructure.
As a leader, I know better than to blame distractions for my lack of planning, so let me just say, Easter came early and I wasn't ready, I wasn't free to spend a bunch of money on advertising. I wasn't able to buy little gifts for our guests. I wasn't creatively inspired. (It's funny how inspiration usually carries a price tag) - but again, those are not excuses, but they are reasons. Frustratingly stupid reasons.
One huge benefit to being where we are, is that it forces us to think differently. We began to think not about what we don't have, instead, we ask, "What is in our hand?" And through the refining process, we finally are discovering who we are as a church, where our strengths lie, and working into them instead of throwing money at our weaknesses. We have great people. We have revival fire. We have the Holy Spirit. We know how to worship and bring heaven into any situation. We have His Word. We have great BIG faith.
God met us right where we were. He does that, doesn't He? He meets our natural with His super, and that's how we see miracles happen. Supernatural breakthrough happens when we choose to stand in faith and trust God in our deficiency.
Good Friday was an especially sweet service. Good Friday is meant to be a somber, sobering reminder of all that Christ suffered as He became sin for us. The atmosphere in our church was pure sweetness instead of a forced sadness. It was sincere and authentic thanksgiving to God for sending HIs Son. Gratefulness to Jesus for His ultimate sacrifice.
On Saturday, we didn't know if people would even come to our Eggstravaganza event because we didn't do much advertising. But they came. Oh how they came! By the hundreds, they streamed in. The crowds weren't the miraculous part though. It was our volunteers. Such genuine compassion for the lost, such love for our community. It was a beautiful scene being played out across all of Seeliger Field. All while the Dream Center was quietly and discreetly providing food, clothing, and love to those who needed it most.
On Easter morning, we put our proverbial stake in the ground. We were given a permit to hold a Community Sunrise Service on the Nevada State Capital Grounds this year. Because we believe that God wants to impact our city and have every person come into relationship with Him, we were determined to meet there, to sow our seed into that ground, even if the staff were the only ones to come.
As we began gathering, a beautiful mule deer ran right through our gathering place! It was as if all of nature had been waiting for us to gather there, and the welcome mat had been rolled out for us.
And to our surprise, people came! People from our city we had never met before, people on vacation, our own faithful C5 God-seekers all gathered. We sang. We worshipped Jesus in front of the State Supreme Court, the Capitol building, in the open air. It was incredible. As Pastor began to close in prayer, the chimes of the bells at the Laxalt building began to ring, as if echoing our plea to make Jesus famous in our city.
As we all departed to head to the church, the sky suddenly opened and drizzled tiny drops of rain. I think God was simply watering the seeds that we had sown. Then as quickly as it came, it left. The sky cleared up again, the sun came out and the rest of the day was picture perfect.
Inside C5 Easter morning, there was an atmosphere of expectation and joy as we gathered for early morning prayer. We were simply there to celebrate Jesus. No pleading, no longing, just thanks.
As we began our worship service, people kept streaming in. Through the entire worship set, as I sang on stage, I watched. I watched people be welcomed. I watched people receive prayer. I watched men get more chairs. I watched brand new people that had never been to C5 before come forward to receive communion. I watched people as they cried and bowed there knees in gratitude. I watched men get more chairs still. By the end of the service, I watched so many accept Jesus for the first time. Easter 2016 went so far beyond my expectations.
This may have been the first time (for me) that Easter wasn't about the production. It wasn't about the advertising. It wasn't about the crowds. It wasn't about a new stage design. It wasn't about giving away anything. It was all about JESUS.
And since it was all about Jesus, His glory was all the production we needed. He spread the word and drew people to His house. He brought the crowds. He gave the gifts! He gave Himself. What more could we ever ask for?
So 2016 Easter at C5 will always be the perfectly imperfect celebration of Jesus in my opinion.
This morning when Carson City woke up to falling snow, I felt as though God was winking at me, saying, "See? You believed for a Miracle March, you trusted me with what you had, and I am faithful." Isn't He funny?
I'd love to hear how God revealed Himself to you this Easter.