After being encouraged to go to this conference, Dave asked for just Wednesday off from work even though Exponential runs about 4 days. He called the conference to ask about a single day ticket- but they were already sold out.
Hold on. I just got one. You'll have to find me to get it. And it's free....
Both Dave and I were praying for God to speak through the conference, plus looking forward to reconnecting with some other pastor friends. Dave said he thoroughly enjoyed the speakers, was encouraged through the teaching, and had opportunities to love on some college and seminary friends.
As he was sneaking out of the last session 15 minutes early, Dave prayed. God, if there is one more person you need me to see today.... it has to happen now.
Rounding the corner.....
There he was.
The church planting director from Cleveland.
We have not spoken with him since we left. Hurt feelings, confusion, dissolution. Dave had long time since felt forgiveness and release from all that went on, but obviously no restoration. And as he walked up to the director, the man turned and was shocked to see Dave.
The two stood there for 45 minutes, talking and sharing. Much of what we assumed to be true, was in fact true. This man had to act on directives in which he had little to no control. And as they were ironing out the past, this man encouraged Dave in leadership.
How awesome God is. HE is not a God of coincidences. HE is a God who controls and governs the timing of the universe. WOW. We're blown away after 2 1/2 years that this opportunity has come up to make a relationship right.
One thing that he said to encourage Dave was that he talked about humility in leading. The fact that we can lead with a limp (sometimes the whole Cleveland experience felt like a mortal blow to the head.... but I digress....) allows room for the Holy Spirit to work. We know that we have to rely on the Lord to provide, guide, and direct. Negative experiences can turn to positive ones if we step back and let God burn away the chaff.
Which HE did. Mega-burn.
He made us trust Him. Financially. Relationally. Spiritually. Psalm 34 will always resonate strongly as that scripture especially was given to me in New Orleans. God is not a God of coincidence.
Love it that He loves us. Dave. Me.
I will extol the LORD at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the LORD, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the LORD heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the LORD is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the LORD, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing.
Come, my children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
Whoever of you loves life
and desires to see many good days,
keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking lies.
Turn from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their cry;
the face of the LORD is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
A righteous man may have many troubles,
but the LORD delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
not one of them will be broken.
Evil will slay the wicked;
the foes of the righteous will be condemned.
The LORD redeems his servants;
no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.