Hebrews 13:1,2 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
Wow.....(large sigh) What a day!! It is Sunday and we experienced our largest attendance of our church history....186 people. God is just too cool! I can't wrap my brain around how awesome Jesus really is. Suppose God was impressed today? Was He impressed with 186 people coming to Quarry Rock today? Was He impressed that we held church and sung some songs, heard a message from God's Word? I'm not sure God is all that impressed by our accomplishments! But what i want to share today in this blog/devotion is not about 186 people. I want to share about one man. We'll call him Mike....cuz that is what he said his name was.
As church ended this morning, I happen to notice that a young man was standing in our welcome area. He appeared a bit unkept. That is the polite way to put it, isn't it? He had hair in dreadlocks, wearing a blaze orange stocking cap, jeans and a jacket of some sort. See how observant I am? Not that good for being a former cop, huh? Oh well...anyway, Mike was speaking to Isaac and Isaac called me over to introduce Mike to me. Mike told me that his brother was critically ill and was awaiting a serious surgery to save his life. Mike went on to explain that he was on his way to Washington, D.C. to see his brother but had run out of gas money to travel on. He stated he spent the night in his car across the street from our church. He walked in a little after 11am. I told him that we could get him a tank of gas. I gave him directions to the gas station and told him to go in and state his name and the type of vehicle he was driving and I would call in to "OK" the gas assistance. Mike shook my hand and walked away.
Within a few minutes, he walked back up to me and said, "What was the name of that gas station again?" I told him, shook his hand again and he started to walk away from me for the second time. God spoke straight to me and told me to stop Mike. I yelled, "Mike!" He kept walking.....(About now, I am suspicious his name is not Mike). "Mike!?" No response. "Mike!" This time, he turned to me. I said, "Would you like some soup before you go on in your trip?" He lit up like the sky and said yes. He walked back up to me, shook my hand and I escorted him to the snacks, sandwiches and soup. He got some food and disappeared. I got distracted by some other people who had talked to me in the line. I frantically scanned the room for Mike. Then I saw him sitting down in a booth eating his soup and snacks.
Yeah, I know what you're thinking. All alone like he has leprosy. Poor guy isn't even noticed in this room full of people. Oh....my worst nightmare as a pastor!! How embarrassing to lead people like this, right?
No!!!! That is not the picture I saw. When I scanned the room for Mike, I saw him sitting at a booth eating and talking to a family that just invaded his space. They loved him like he was one of the family....Indeed he was! There was Lance, Kim, Alex, Derrick, and Austin....all about Mike!! They laughed and talked with Mike. I was deeply moved as I watched. To think I almost sent him out with a lousy tank of gas!!!
Mike had something magical about him. He captured the hearts and attention of about everyone in our fellowship hall. They weren't staring like "who's the dude with the cap.... Oh gross!" No, not at all. It was more like, "Hey pastor, who is the guy in the orange hat talking with Alex? What's his story?" He moved everyone in the room. It was........well, really it was weird. In a cool sort of way.
Fill his gas tank and fill his belly. Cool. Now send him on his way, right? Nope, not yet. Our church wasn't done yet. People almost in a line kept filing by Mike, giving him a hug and a wad of cash.....yeah, for real!! Hugs and cash. Then someone went to the food pantry and packed a box of groceries for him as he travelled. Mike was speechless. He received the soup, the gas, the groceries and the cash. But what really lit Mike up was the hugs. I wonder how long its been since he felt that. On second thought.... I don't want to know how long it has been. But today........today, he got hugs. He saw, tasted, felt and experienced Jesus in a very real and raw form.....It was indescribable. I have tried in this blog but there is no way possible to fully describe what happened here in our church today!!
Mike.....(If your name is Mike) and really, I don't care what your name is. I don't care if you have a brother or not. I want you to know I love you, man!! Jesus loves you. He died for you!! You are amazing! You are God's handiwork! And you have changed my life. You touched our hearts and my prayer for you, Mike......My prayer is that the love of Jesus will fill your heart at this moment and I can only hope that we blessed your life half as much as you blessed ours!
Talk about a proud moment!!! I wouldn't change places with any preacher in the world. I have the greatest congregation of lovers of Jesus and lovers of God's people. Way to go, Quarry Rock!!!! You rocked my world today. I am so proud!!!
Mike, I will look for you every time I see a blaze orange stocking cap or dreadlocks. Travel well, my friend.
Hebrews 13:2 Don't forget to show hospitality to strangers for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it.