Snow Shovels and Palm Branches
Here in Rapid City, we’ve had six snow days in the past couple weeks. Lots and lots of snow and blizzard after blizzard have got people stuck in their houses with serious cases of cabin fever!
Yesterday — Saturday — the snow just kept falling (and the wind blowing) all day long. By the time we finally decided that it was time to go out and shovel, regardless of the continuing unpleasant conditions, it was time to start getting the littles ones in the bath and cleaned up for church (even though the 1st AM service had already been cancelled and, the next morning we would find out, the 2nd AM service would eventually be cancelled, too). We had made chili for supper and Deanna had taken the leftovers over to our neighbor’s house as a kind gesture. It turned out that our neighbor had just left town for a three-month-long contract job down south and a young man, one of his employees — a concrete worker, is now staying at his house and keeping watch. He happily accepted the chili and went back inside.
Back to the piles of snow needing to be shoveled… Autumn, Deanna, and I got all bundled up and started working on clearing a path to our backyard garage and also clearing the space behind our gargage to get our vehicles out. Long story short: lots of 3-to-4 foot drifts, took an hour and a half, van got out of the alley okay, the car did not (we had to shovel to get it unstuck and push it free), and then we moved to the front yard to start shoveling the front walk ways.
The front yard was a whole other project in itself. The drifts were huge and it was apparent that it wasn’t going to be a quick job. But… before we had hardly even put a shovels in the snow, the young man who we had just given the chili to was over helping us dig through the snow. He insisted. Again, long story short: he’s home alone, out of work (because he’s a concrete contractor and the weather isn’t agreeing), just bought a pick-up truck, is lonely, and is a recovering alcoholic. He’s also a really friendly guy and we had some good conversation as we finishing shoveling out our front walk.
After he found out that I’m a pastor (which, for whatever reason, always seems awkward for me to share), we talked about Jesus a bit and I invited him to church sometime to check it out. For an introvert like me, who really likes to build relationship with people before bringing Jesus into the conversation, the whole thing was rather quick and overwhelming (in a good way). I guess I was just awestruck by how God orchestrated the whole thing and am happy about the new friend I have that I plan on lifting up every day during my time with God for the next few weeks — praying for good things to happen in his life.
Now on to today… today was Palm Sunday and churches all throughout the region were having to cancel their Palm Sunday celebrations because of the storm and poor road conditions (the police had a “no travel advisory” out for the Rapid City area). This is especially sad for “Destinoids” (as we like to call ourselves) because Palm Sunday is a big celebration at Destiny. We have palm branches for everyone and we go crazy with waving them around everywhere during our worship time. The kids love it! We also had a Jewish dance worked up and a bunch of “Hosanna songs” on the worship set-list to get everyone in the mood. It’s always a great time.
Well, the morning services were cancelled but the city plowed through our roads in time for everyone to get to the evening service at 6:30 PM. There was a pretty good crowd there for a Sunday night, including about 10-to-12 first-timers. We had an awesome time of worship, which ended with a prophetic word that the pastors had for one of the guests. They didn’t realize it until later, but it turned out that the gentleman that they had given the word to was Pastor Tani’s pastor twenty years ago when she first became a Christian. Pretty cool!
When the students split off for Catalyst Discipleship, we probably had our largest group ever (thanks to five new visitors and the cancelation of the morning services). We started off by asking God to speak into the lives of two young men that God had put on my heart. We prayed for a couple of minutes and then started speaking over their lives. Several students came up and starting sharing what God had given them, too. Such a great picture of the body of Christ ministering to each other!
After that we went into a discussion on the “Cards We’ve Been Dealt” stemming from a Skit Guys video clip. Good stuff! Great night! God is good!