Last weekend, the whole Calvary family — coming from 7 different worship gatherings in 4 different locations — gathered in 1 room. Eisenhower Auditorium. It was a reminder that we are ONE church. It was also a reminder that we share a mission at Penn State University. It was a great day.
Some thoughts on what God did…
1) God drew many people together. When I walked in a bit before start time — maybe a few hundred people in the room. When I turned around during the second song — in true Calvary fashion — more. So many more. Using their little clickers the Eisenhower staff counted 2200…we’re confident they clicked a few people twice…but between the Jesus Jam at 1250 and those at Eisenhower, we figure over 2000 gathered on Sunday. Our biggest gathering ever!
2) God reminded me of how far He has brought us. When I looked out over the crowd, I couldn’t help but remember 13 years ago. Calvary joined with 11 other congregations for a Sunday morning worship gathering. It had the same sense of excitement, about the same number of people, and coincidently the same preacher… but back then Calvary had one service meeting in one location with about 300 people. Over the course of 13 years, God has done so much in our midst…and it’s not just about the numbers… it’s who He is shaping us to be…a church without walls. A church that is not perfect but is passionate, or at least growing in passion for God and a passion to help people — all sorts of people — find God’s dream for their lives.
3) God showed us that prayer matters. The 21 days of prayer were more important than the Sunday morning event. While we were calling out to God on campus, God was enlarging the capacity of our hearts. He was touching the hearts of people and drawing people to gather to encounter Him. Without prayer Sunday would not have been the same.
4) God touched hearts. Let me share a few thoughts from some of the e-mails I received…
“It is so hard to believe that God loves us, let alone that He loves us lavishly, extravagantly, prodigally. Seems weird to use “prodigal” in a positive sense. I needed that.”
“I just wanted to add confirmation to your your inspired call to “the broken” on Sunday. I believe it was not only a call to the crowd gathered but to the campus community and that the Lord will honor the call and it will bear fruit in the coming months of this academic year.”
“Standing, singing, surrounded by a few thousand people I felt God’s love as a real, tangible gift for the first time in my life.”
“I had to at least tell you just how awesome yesterday’s service was with the entire congregation (and hopefully new faces) worshiping together under one roof! It was so powerful and so special and you were right…God certainly was there!”
People experienced the love of Father God. People stood to come home. People came forward and got some broken pottery shards. In fact I’ve passed by people the last few days and they pulled out their shards to show me. God touched hearts.
4) God put on my heart that last Sunday was not a culmination, it was a beginning. With all my heart, I believe God wants us to continue praying, inviting, sharing, believing for more in the valley. More on this to come…