Ack, yesterday really didn't go well at all. I don't know what exactly went wrong, but I was just off-kilter the whole day, and I felt awful for those who were depending on me! I think maybe I didn't spend enough "unhurried" time in my devotions that morning, or didn't use my Saturday to rest properly for a Sabbath.
Bright and early at 8:30am I dropped by my own church just to prepare and pray, since I'd be serving elsewhere this week and wouldn't have a chance to attend service or Sunday school here. I ran across a local traveling preacher, who has visited our church several times but doesn't claim any church as his home, just shows up uninvited wanting to preach and heal and bring "deliverance". Just talking with him was a bit stressful, but it reminded me that when I first showed up at my church, uninvited, people were wary of me for the same reason -- and there was a heightened sensitivity because of visitors like him. I've learned that to be considerate and sensitive to others, I need not to take matters into my own hands, but to sit back and let others get used to me in their own time.
At 9:30 I was back with my old friends at SVPG church: it's been a couple months since I saw them last, and it really saddened me to see Pastor Justin with tired, slumped shoulders. He asked for prayer for renewed vigor and focus, and I got the feeling that, indeed, the congregation was looking to me to speak inspiration into their lives with renewed vigor and focus. But I really didn't have it in me: I myself was tired, drained, and under-prepared -- I felt like my message on Philippians 2:12-16 was rambling and disorganized, and I openly confessed that. But the Word of God is stronger than my shortcomings, and God's power is made perfect in my weakness. To the extent that anyone got anything out of that sermon, it's all due to the power of God's Word -- it definitely wasn't me!
In the afternoon I was back at the teens' baptismal Sunday school class at Surrey ECBC. Just seeing their smiling faces as they played and joked around was enough to brighten my day! But still I was tired and unfocused; I noticed myself slipping into a more top-down didactic style rather than interactive dialogue. I had a bit of trouble translating the questions the kids asked in Mandarin, and I caught myself almost getting a bit snippy with the kids. That just devastated me! These are the same inquisitive kids from last week, and the last thing I want is to dump cold water on their pursuit of God just because I'm having a bad day.