Sometimes change occurs around you, and it takes time to notice. A pet grows sick, a baby grows up, a relative grows frailer, a relationship changes. We are so busy and often so focused on our work or our families or our hobbies that we fail to notice the blessings of the moment.
Brian and I got married twelve years ago, and I remember advice my dad gave me that morning. “Be present in the moment,” he said. That was good advice for a younger person who had not seen much of life – or change – pass her by.
As I write, we are coming upon our third week of The Alpha Course, an introduction for some and for others a review of the foundations of Christianity. “Is this all there is?” Alpha asks. To date, we have over eighty-five people signed up to attend courses on a weekly basis into Advent. Over eighty-five people. You have responded in force. God has exceeded our expectations with Alpha, and I have no doubt that through these Wednesday nights, he will continue to exceed them, as we grow together through this program.
Here are some comments I have received about Alpha:
“This is what we’ve been wanting for Wednesday nights for a long time”
“God is doing something here. I could really sense the Holy Spirit. We have been waiting so long …”
The number of those registered for Alpha so exceeded our expectations that we ran out of forks, and then plates, and then glasses. We purchased what we needed for the wonderful meals each Wednesday evening, but the concerns of the kitchen reflect what God is doing here: our God is moving!
He is showing up. He is answering our prayers.
It would be easy after one hundred and one years of ministry for Orenco to lock God in a box. Brad Powell, in his book Change Your Church for Good, calls for churches to experience God in new ways. He cites the second chapter of Acts, in which we read of the power of God by his Holy Spirit and through Jesus Christ. In verse 24, we are reminded that God is more powerful than death!
Nobody said change is easy. But when it is happening around us, it’s important to recognize it, and if it’s good, to embrace it. And God’s blessings are indeed good. Our Sunday School has begun for the new school year, our youth groups now meet on a weekly basis, God is exceeding our expectations in any number of answered prayers, and the same God who has moved over eighty-five of you to sign up for Alpha is moving in your lives and in mine. May we embrace what he has in store for us. May we be present in those moments.