substitute sermon

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I didn’t want to go to church… Oh, I don’t mean forever, those chapters of my life are long gone… Thank God literally… I just meant for that one particular Sunday.

The executive pastor was on vacation and one of his fill-ins was a younger staff pastor. I knew he had a great heart, but I’m spoiled and didn’t want to be one of the guinea pigs for a junior pastor to practice and develop his style on.Β I’ve done my fair share of time in that role… It’s no walk in the park, “leh-me-tell-ya.”

My wife was with me on Β this one, she’s been with me on that taxing road, or pew as it were. We discussed some alternative churches to explore as guests, not that I was going to be raising my hand when they asked who were visitors, “By a show of hands,” mind you.

After we had eliminated all options we decided to face the music. Take our religious torture like a man… And a woman…

When we finally decided to go, it was too late for the early service, which is the one we usually attend. I was dreading the crowds of the second service. “It’s gonna be crowded.” I groaned aloud. My wife countered, “I highly doubt it”! – “Oh, good point,” I added with sarcasm.

She was right, it wasn’t crowded at all, especially for the most popular second service. We strolled in, picked our favorite seats. Close to the front, but not too close. Everyone knows you don’t want to be able to see the color of the preacher’s eyes.

As we settled in waiting for the service to start, my eyes searched the stage area for the worship leader and his team. “Awe No”! I thought to myself, “Substitutes all the way around”!

Then I spotted the younger kid who leads occasionally when the youth worship team plays. His style isn’t my favorite… Then I spotted what I surmised was a couple of high school girls to help Mr. Monotone push their way through what would be a complete falling down of a church service, relative to what we usually got.

Mr. Monotone, which is the in style right now I guess, who’s actually a fine looking college aged kid, steps up to the microphone as he started to play. “Please stand,” he asked politely. I let out a sigh of regret inside for having to stand through the coming misery.

The worship team had the usual musicians behind them, so I knew it wasn’t going to be all bad.

I can’t remember the song they did, but it was powerful. The church was so dialed into the song, I really felt like they, I say they, because I wasn’t singing, had a power of spirit about them. My negative mindset didn’t change as they went through the announcements.

Mr. Cool Monotone asked everyone to stand up again. It didn’t catch me off guard this time. “I wanna teach you guys a new song”! – “This one moves”!! He said with energy. My mind kept on whining, “Great”! – “I don’t like learning new songs”! – “This just keeps gettin’ better”!

“This is the chorus”! He said over the music and proceeded to repeat it several times. “And this is the bridge”! He declared and proceeded it for another several times.

I could write pages recounting the service, but suffice to say, regardless of the young man’s voice, which really is pretty good and the young looking girls I thought were high school age, turned out to be as good or better than anyone I hear on the radio, it was the most spirit-filled worship service I’ve ever witnessed.

The substitute sermon was aces as well. The young pastor showed guts and tackled a sermon on Christians and the human element of doubt.

Isn’t that like God…

To put me in my place…

To show how me how much I really know…

About anything…