Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Not a Blogger nor the Son of a Blogger

I've never been much of a blogger. Check that - I have never blogged before today. Ever. I don't even really read blogs. So I didn't read a blog about how to write a blog before I started writing this blog (which you may have already figured out or will soon enough... I'm guessing there's probably some unwritten rule about how many times you can use blog in a single sentence.)

And I certainly don't expect anyone to read my blog. This is not an attempt to regurgitate the minutiae of my life out onto the internet for all to see. (I present to you my, count em', four Facebook posts in the first seven months of 2012 as further evidence). As Rossi said in a Criminal Minds episode a couple years ago - "Can somebody explain to me the appeal of these sites? 'Eating sushi tonight - yum.' 'Boss is keeping me late tonight - grrr.' Whose life is so important that we'd be interested in this kind of detail?" 

Not mine.

But I have been feeling God's tug for me to be more aware of His day in and day out gifts of grace. Now, as a preacher, I love to talk about God's grace in the salvation arena. It's one of my favorite topics, maybe because it was so late in the game before I really started to "get it." But I rarely think about God's grace in my daily life. And yet, if grace is really all about me getting what I don't deserve, then daily doesn't even begin to cover it. My life is literally soaked with people and moments and opportunities that I simply do not deserve... and yet I picture God shaking them on me with something like a big salt-shaker just so He can add flavor to the blessed life that He's already given me. Grace on top of grace, or something like that.

Like Table 26.

It's been ten days since the end of the longest conference I've ever attended. Beginning on a Sunday night, going through the next Saturday morning, with morning, afternoon, and evening sessions that many times went beyond 9:00 PM CST (which is an hour past my EST bedtime), no conference I've ever been a part of even comes close to this schedule. And to think it used to be a twelve-day event! Ouch! 

Don't get me wrong - it was good. The information and inspiration that three others and I experienced and brought home to NC will help us lead a new ministry in our local church that has the potential to bring unprecedented care to the hurting people around us.

But it was long (kind of like this post).

And what made it not only bearable, what made it not just enjoyable but memorable was Table 26. When the four from our church sat down at Table 26 on that Monday morning with four others from three different congregations in Texas, we had no idea what we were in store for. We had no clue what God was going to be "shaking down" on us. We spent the next six days and forty-five plus conference hours together, and almost all of them at Table 26 (except for that Thursday afternoon turf war when we were relegated to Table 18 - you know who you are! I'm still looking over my shoulder for "Walkie Talkie Man.").

But it wasn't just the class time. Several off us spent the off-hours together as well - laughing together, crying together, praying together. We were are family.

As one woman from my church emailed us all: "The conference was incredible and the company even better." No doubt. But God simply did what He has done so many other times in my life. He layered additional grace on top of the grace He'd already given.

And He didn't have to. It would have been enough for us to just have been at the conference. That was an incredible blessing in and of itself. To be honest, it was more than enough. But God "twenty-sixed" us!

I want that phrase to become a part of my regular vocabulary. I'm praying that I will have the eyes to see and the heart to feel the times when God "twenty-sixes" me. And when He does... and when I do... I plan to write some of it down.

Again, I'm not a blogger, nor the son of a blogger (a little shout-out to the minor prophet Amos!). I'm not writing so much for others to read but so that I can remind myself. I simply do not want to take God's "Table 26's" for granted any more.

The Lord's love never ends; his mercies never stop. 
They are new every morning; Lord, your loyalty is great.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (NCV)