I arrived safely in Berlin early this morning: 2 am EDT, 8 am local time. Customs was a breeze and both my bags arrived safely. It was burdensome trying to carry two large bags, my backpack and my electric guitar (the heavier of the two, as the other one is already here), until a kind man gave me his luggage carrier, the kind you can easily retrieve simply by inserting a quarter, like getting a grocery cart at Aldi. I’d have gotten my own carrier but I didn’t have a quarter. I have American dollars and Polish zloty — no coins.
As I’ve had time to consider the events of the past 24+ hours, I realize it is all for God’s glory and my good, as an All Sons and Daughters song says. See, the 3.5 hour drive to Detroit was an opportunity to worship, as I listened and sang along to All Sons and Daughters and Paul Baloche and listened to sermons from a church in Raleigh, who are currently working through a series in the book of Romans. I’ve been so consumed with all that has gone into preparing for this trip — music and programming, rehearsals, logistics, planning, figuring out luggage fees, shopping for fancy duds for the nicer concerts, etc. — that I have forsaken my devotional time with God. I could make excuses for this, like how we had family in town for Lindsay’s graduation and so my spot in the basement was occupied. Or how because of said family, I needed to race to work early in the morning (around 6 am) to put in some hours before my West Coast family awoke at home.
I am being completely forthright in saying that I allowed the busyness of ministry to keep me from building into my relationship with Christ. And I know better. I know that I cannot minister to others in my own power. It doesn’t matter how well I sing the song, the words I say. God spoke through one of the prophets saying, “It’s not by might nor power but by my Spirit.” If, like the song we sing, I want Christ to be all around me, then I need to be all around him.
So the time alone was good. I prayed for everything to work out; yes, certainly I did. But more than anything I prayed, declaring the goodness and worthiness of God. And I worshiped like I hadn’t in some time. So when I arrived at the passport agency in Detroit, I did so with a calm and quieted soul, content with whatever God works out — or doesn’t.
As for the team, they depend on me. There’s no denying that. But they also know that God can use them without me. He doesn’t need me or them. Instead, God allows us, invites us, to partner with him in bringing many people to a saving knowledge and faith in Christ. So, I’ll be there tonight or the garden party we’re playing, and things will likely run smoother. No, they’re certain to. Not just because of my presence, but because I come as one who has spent time with the Master.
One more thing … and I’m not judging anyone here, but I think the situation called many to prayer who may not have thought about it. Yes, I know many of you have been praying for the people of Poland and this mission trip in particular. But I also know that it’s easy to fall off in prayers for others. Therefore, I’m begging you to continue to pray. Pray each day, each hour for the duration of this trip. I will aim to post as often as I can, so that you are included in the mission here.
(By the way, I’m writing this quickly so I have no time to proofread. I apologize for any errors. I may or may not fix them when I return.)