Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)
I am still smiling from all that transpired tonight.
We did a concert at Chill and Grill tonight – a local eatery with the best ice cream deal in town. The slogan is, “That’s a SMALL?” 🙂 It’s a great place, owned by a great guy, and we were happy to be playing there tonight. There were several reasons that it was slightly inconvenient to be doing it tonight, but I went up to set up (it’s less than a mile from our house) while Jen stayed with the kids about an hour before we were to start.
As I am setting up, several people are curious about all the sound gear that I continued to load into the area in front of the restaurant. Some ask, but most just inquisitively stare. I spot a bunch of younger guys as I am setting up one section of the gear, and say hello. The young fellow looked at me sorta puzzled, but said hello. It’s always kinda funny as we set up for these unexpected events. 🙂
(It was scheduled, just most people there at that moment don’t read the posters, so they were taken by surprise by my rapid construction of a sound system.)
As I continue to set up, the young man I saw walk into the restaurant walks out with a phone, and hands it to me saying, “It’s Jeff.” Jeff is the owner I mentioned before. Now, first it was kind of an odd thing to say… just, “It’s Jeff.” But, besides that, it was even more odd that Jeff was calling his own restaurant for me… so, I figured something was up.
“Hello?” I answered, quite curious as to what this call might be about, “Hey Jeff! What’s up?” Jeff proceeds to apologetically explain that he booked two bands for the night!!! When we had spoken earlier, he told me the other band was coming in later August, so I said we’d happily take the first weekend. And, just for kicks, we’d do Saturday instead of Friday. So, there was never any issue, because we had worked all of the scheduling details out already.
Until the other band showed up to me setting up sound gear where they were supposed to be playing.
So, I assure Jeff that it is completely fine! In fact, I was ready to pack up and go home… we could use a night off! But I remembered that I had heard from several people that they wanted to come hear us play, so I agreed with Jeff’s idea that we split the time somehow. It was all working out great, as a shorter set was definitely beneficial to us.
So, I hang up and introduce myself to the other band, and we shared a laugh about the miscommunication. They were very gracious and had no problem sharing the evening with us. It turns out that they were three brothers who had come with their father. We worked out some details, and then I kept setting stuff up as we talked.
After some introductions, the father asked me, “So, where do you guys fellowship?” Obviously he had realized that we were Christians, and I gathered from his question that they were as well. The question is a rather tricky one to answer these days, though. I don’t want to just tell him, “I don’t go to church.” That would at least involve lots more explanation, and at some point I might crush his whole reality with my crazy ideas. That’s never pretty. Nor do I want to avoid the question. I love to talk about the stuff God is revealing to me, what he is doing in and through us, and how my understanding of “church” continues to grow and change… it’s all really cool… but, not a short answer to a short question.
I came up with, “Well, a little bit of everywhere.” An honest answer, albeit a bit ambiguous.
“Oh! Us too,” was his reply. “Us too?” There was something about the way he said it. It was not like, yeah, we go to lots of churches too, cause we like churches. Something inside me rang a big bell. Something connected.
I perked up a bit and said, “Oh yeah?” And after a bit more discussion I found out that their family is not part of anything most people would call a “church” and that they transitioned out of such structures within the last two years or so. I was fascinated, but it was so completely unexpected I forgot how amazing these moments were.
You see, for some time now, both Jen & I have been asking God to connect us with people who are on a similar journey. People who have a deep hunger for God and his Kingdom and his Righteousness, but are bothered by the religious structures that we have labeled “churches”. We have lots of great friends who are believers, but on some level they are all connected to some organization and spend lots of their life and energy in that arena. So, often we feel a bit alone in our current journey. We have friends who live far away with whom we discuss the things we are discovering and learning, but we have been longing for someone who is here in this town whom God is working in similarly.
And tonight, going to a routine concert, on a regular day, not even expecting nothing… he answered.
See, sometimes I confess… I go to a concert expecting nothing. I know not many will show up, even fewer will listen, and no one will buy a thing, nor will the venue pay us. Those can be discouraging nights, especially when money is as tight as it is. And other times I will go talking to God the whole way to the event, asking him to make great connections and do great things through all that transpires that night. But tonight… nothing! I wasn’t expecting anything, good or bad.
And God knocked my socks off!
I wasn’t even wearing socks!
I really can not explain how amazed I was. I had to go grab a music stand from some friends around the corner and as left, I was literally giddy with excitement at what God had done! You know that he answers prayer, but you almost expect him to answer when you are asking… not at a time you are not even thinking about it!!! Wow. Simply incredible.
So tonight I was blindsided a couple times. Once by poor scheduling, and then by a Father who loves me more still than I think I understand. We plan to connect with this family soon, and share as much of the journey as God has for us to share. He is so good to us. I am just astounded as I write this.
Oh, one more fun part. Pat, the father, said that he was debating whether or not to come (he just came for moral support) since his wife was going to stay home with the two younger kids, but she told him he should go as “God will have something for you there.” Now, I don’t know that is was prophecy, but it was still cool. I told Pat that I really believe he and his family are an answer to our prayer.
Simply amazing. I am still blown away.
Will I ever actually not be, because I am so used to God working in my life that it is no longer a surprise? Not sure.
But for now, I am enjoying the surprise.