20th anniversary reflections

So much has been swirling in my mind these last few days!! I know there is no way to get it all out in words and I am not even sure where to start as I reflect on Parkview's 20th anniversary celebration.
I don't like giving myself credit but I guess I could begin by telling you what were my ideas and then maybe I could share my contributions. So let's begin with my ideas: 1) we need to have a golf cart at the fair grounds to help people who need assistance get around. 2)___________ 3)___________ 4)____________ 5____________. Yep, that is it - I had one stinkin' cotton pickin' idea. I left numbers 2 - 5 blank so I could come back later and fill them in, but I promise you there is no need to check back in a few days because they will still be void of content.
So let me break it down for you further: it was not my idea to host the event at the Fair Grounds (Derek); it was not my idea to invite Big Daddy Weave (Derek); it was not my idea to invite the mayor (Derek); it was not my idea to have such incredible food (Andrew); I did not oversee and organize the event from start to finish (Andrew); I did not disassemble the video board from inside our new building and reset it up on the stage in the arena (Mark); I did not coordinate what would appear to me to be more inflatables than would have even existed in this county (Stacy); I did not host Big Daddy Weave and his crew (Sylvia); I did not coordinate a small army to serve in first impressions and parking (Chad); I did not mobilize the MOST INCREDIBLE crew of volunteers anywhere on the planet (Sonya); I did not serve anywhere and everywhere needed (Jessica/Parkview Baptist Vicar:).
Oh, wait a minute, I just remembered something, because people were showing up in droves, I helped park cars for about 6 minutes (although I did stop when the first guy got out of his car and asked if he could help with anything - I deputized Tony as a parking attendant on the spot and went back to what I was doing before that moment...nothing.)
In addition to the world's most incredible staff, I must tell you this - Mike Weaver aka. Big Daddy, thought all the people that were helping set up sound, stage and video, like an army of life size ants, were paid staff and he was BLOWN AWAY when he was told they were volunteers!!!
Ok, so a little more to help you smile, and help you realize that we have the most incredible community of faith. When the service countdown hit approximately 28 seconds I walked to the platform (because I was told to do so) and as I stepped to the main part of the stage, now with about 22 seconds left, and I thanked Big Daddy and his crew for coming and let him know how much we were looking forward to them leading us in worship. I crack a smile as I type this because those were the very first words Big Daddy and I ever exchanged in our lives. Lest you think we never spoke again, let me add some clarity. We had one more exchange - when I finished preaching and began to walk off the stage Big Daddy stopped me and said, "I about had a fit!" At first I was quite honestly unsure of what he meant until he said a few more words. His "fit" was in regards to the response of people who embraced the gospel and trusted Christ as their personal Lord and Leader. We never spoke again. And we didn't need to, because he hit a grand slam and so did our staff and volunteers and I was afraid to insert myself into the picture and mess it all up.
Ok before I close let me tell you how my day started...My phone rang at 7:02am. It was Pastor Derek and he was letting me know that the arena was a mud pit. In 30 seconds we devised a plan. Oh, hold the phone! If the golf cart idea was #1 and helping park cars for 6 minutes was #2, then recommending he send someone to Home Depot to get some plywood to make a walk way - well then, that would be the #3 thing I did for the event. No worries, I seriously doubt I will have any further epiphanies!
Now that it was 7:03 and I was up I began to start my day. In a little while I had my pen and journal in hand. Over and over that morning I wrote the word grace. Surprisingly to me and yet so refreshing to me, I spent a good bit of time thinking about countless hurts and mistakes over the years and still the word I kept coming back to was grace. In those moments of reflection over every hard time, I amazingly felt so victorious and it was all because of God's grace. I was literally overcome with God's grace!
Once the family was ready we left and headed for the fairgrounds. The first conversation started when I asked Seth what was the hardest part about being a pastor's kid. You just have to know that he had to think for some time before he could reply and then he stated, "Being at the church so much". Denise and I had the same exact reaction - our hearts smiled - because this is the kid that when we are taking 2 cars to church he wants to go in car #1 so he can get there sooner and this is the kid who almost always wants to stay longer and hang out with his friends. When we mentioned this he sheepishly agreed he couldn't think of anything to say so he just said that. We then spent time talking about all the benefits of being a pastor's kid. Let me just stop here and say the reason the one list had nothing (although I promise you being a pk is not always easy and we are often very proud of how he handles it) and the other list had a bunch, is because this family, this community, these people, who make up Parkview are the MOST INCREDIBLE people and EACH OF YOU have made our lives so extremely rich!!! Now sure, there are hard times (most of which are my own doing) and there are hard decisions (but I kinda knew what I was signing up for) and there are difficult moments of ministry (because sin makes life difficult at times).
So as I further reflect on the day, I guess I only have one regret - Denise and I couldn't find the time to hug every single person's neck and thank them for making Parkview what it is! By the way, that task would have been more doable if so many of you wouldn't have come:) Which in case you were wondering how many were there - they told us the stands would hold 2,500 people and I know what you are thinking - the stands were packed! So my best conservative guess is that we had well over 2,000 who came to celebrate 20 years of Life Change.
Ok, so I need to stop. I am feeling blessed beyond reason and I need to stop and process the grace of God just a little longer. Thanks for helping me continue to celebrate 20 years of Life Change!!!