God unplugged

Psalm_16_11

I looked at the clock. 3:35 a.m.

It was too early to be awake.

But the clock didn’t shine long. Suddenly everything went black. All electricity had shut down.

My mind raced to the morning’s agenda. It was Sunday. That meant getting up early to shower, eat pancakes, then head to choir practice before worship services began.

But with no electricity, I’d take a cold shower and keep wet hair. And forget the pancakes. And would we even have church? Their power supply was the same as ours.

I drifted in and out of sleep, weighing pros and cons of possible plans.

In the end, it didn’t matter. The electricity came back on, just in time for me to get up and start the day (with pancakes).

At church that morning, Pastor Mark admitted similar turmoil over contingency plans if the electricity hadn’t returned.

But he’d concluded it wouldn’t matter.

Because the presence of the Lord isn’t dependent upon our creature comforts. Jesus always shows up wherever and whenever his believers do.

And to prove the point, during the middle of morning worship, he had all the lights turned off. The musical instruments shut down. The place was silent.

And God was present. His Spirit was thick. As always.

Lesson learned.

Until yesterday.

Another Sunday. I woke up, got ready (but no pancakes since Jeff the pancake man was sick), and left for choir practice.

But walking into the church building, I noticed it was dark. No electricity. Two Sundays in a row, we’d lost power. Jeff texted me, confirming the same just happened at our house.

This time the electricity did not come back on before services began. Instead, we lit 50 candles, rallied the acoustic guitarists, and welcomed Holy Spirit among us.

It was a beautiful service. With or without electricity . . .

  • We had Power.
  • We had Light.
  • We had Heat.

At the end of the service, with eyes closed and heads bowed, Pastor Mark invited those who didn’t know Jesus, to get to know him.

And the power clicked. The lights came on. At just that moment. (I know that sounds corny or made up, but maybe God really wanted to drive home his point? I just know it’s what happened.)

New Power. Fresh Light. Restored Heat.

It’s the climate I want to stay in. This now of God’s presence that permeates our atmosphere.

Because plugged or unplugged, the Lord stays on.

God-unplugged

* * *

Have you had a cool experience with God lately? Please share in the comments.

44 thoughts on “God unplugged

  1. blankSusan Nowell @ My Place to Yours

    Doesn’t God have the best timing—and sense of humor? His are THE BEST surprises! At our church we’re doing a Lenten series on light vs. dark, especially learning to live in the dark. Your post reiterates much of what I’ve been thinking lately. “The Dark” isn’t something to fear when we have the assurance that God is there with us.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Your Lenten series sounds fabulous. Have you read Barbara Brown Taylor’s book “Learning to Walk in the Dark”? Sounds like it would fit perfectly with that theme. I haven’t read it yet but I want to. Her books always inspire.

  2. blankJoanne Viola

    A beautiful post, Lisa! This line so struck me >>> “This now of God’s presence that permeates our atmosphere.” So grateful He permeates our lives with Himself. Grateful to have been your neighbor this morning. Blessings!

  3. blankLaura

    This does sound powerful, Lisa. Lately I’ve been thinking about how God works in the dark. I need to remember this with all of my heart and let my life shine his light. Point well taken 🙂

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      The theme of God working in the dark keeps popping up in my world too. I’ve been reading more of Richard Rohr’s stuff lately, and he makes so many points about descending in order to ascend. Not fearing the darkness…easier for me to say than do. 🙂

  4. blankBarbara H.

    It’s amazing what we think we have to have to function and to worship. I admit I am all too fond of my creature comforts and am ashamed when I read what Christians in other times and places go through just to get together for worship. What a good reminder that God will meet with us no matter what the outward circumstances are.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I know. 🙁 We have so many creature comforts (including speedy internet!) that we’ve grown accustomed to; we’re definitely spoiled. So those times of even slight discomfort are good for me to be reminded of how easy I have it, and to not grow dependent on outward things.

    1. blankDavid

      Cool experience: yes. Saturday night/Sunday morning; disturbed sleep; up to get a drink; email waiting on my phone from a friend in this space. A very timely intervention. In the morning I gaze out at the lambs while I’m brushing my teeth.

  5. blankAndrew Budek-Schmeisser

    0335 isn’t too early to be up. Ask my dogs. Well, some of them.

    The heelers want to be up. The Pit Bulls pull their pillows and blankets over their heads.

    Cool experience lately? Not really, but these days just being able to keep going is kind of cool.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Well, the dogs can get up at 3:35, but I’d rather not. 🙂 Keeping going–the most important experiences require that. Please continue, Andrew; we still need your words here.

  6. blankRenee @Doorkeeper

    I always enjoy visiting your blog, Lisa. Both this post & the post about the children’s author are such great reminders of what’s truly important for life here on earth. Thanks for sharing your heart for God & others. Blessings!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Renee. After reading your post today on that haunting image, we really do see what’s important and what is lasting. It’s not many of the things I can get hung up on during the day. 🙁 I want to keep the big picture in mind always.

  7. blankSharon

    Up here in the mountains, they’ve been replacing/upgrading a lot of electrical stuff. I can’t tell you the number of times that our power has gone out in the last 6 months. It’s all a little disturbing – all day outages, and one that lasted 15 hours! But, I’ve also had some of the same thoughts you did. That it’s much the same in our spiritual lives.

    God is the power, and He’s on all the time. The question is whether we’re plugged into His Holy Spirit or not. Without that, life can become pretty dark!

    GOD BLESS!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      I feel you, Sharon. After our tornadofest a few years back that knocked out power lines near and far, our electricity was unstable for a year. It was frustrating not being able to depend on it, but it was a taste of what many have to live with every day. Yes, God is our power and I want to stay plugged into Holy Spirit all the time. Have a bright week!

  8. blankJoanna Sormunen

    What a beautiful story! And so true!
    Here in Ecuador there are many churches that don’t have any power, ever. The congregation sits in silence and listens hard when the pastor speaks, and sings together without any accompanyment. Many times they don’t sound exacty as the song is supposed to go but the Spirit of God is present.
    For me it was a hard lesson to learn. That God is present even when we praise Him, and sound really out of tune. The music doesn’t need to perfect, the church doesn’t need to be perfect, like have chairs, be painted, or finished, have windows and a complete roof. Sometimes the church can be a box of concrete that has not been painted at all and has humidity growing from the walls and a floor covered and rain water. Or it can be a wooden structure with no floor, just the earth. Or it can be just a room, or no room at all.
    The important thing is the congragation and the Spirit of God. If we are there, then it’s a church.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      A thousand amens to this, Joanna. Yes, yes. Thank you for sharing the view from Ecuador. I can imagine it just based on visits to El Salvador and Guatemala. Beautiful people worshiping God!

      Where I sat last Saturday morning in the city in Alabama, church was a few rows of folding chairs set up outside, facing away from the sun, with a sweet homeless friend to my right, strangers to my left, little kids playing against the concrete wall up front. It was sweet church.

      Exterior things never can contain God anyway; may we use them for his glory, but not depend on them for it. “If we are there, then it’s a church.” Thank you!

  9. blankbluecottonmemory

    Beautiful, Lisa – With all the snow and ice lately, all the life stopping, it has unplugged life – and in the stillness, I hear God so much louder! What a beautiful worship time you had! Out of the box has so much potential!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Out of the box definitely gets me thinking and feeling more. But I am ready to move on to spring now! 🙂 I know you’ve had more than your fair share of power outages too. Bring on the sun and warmth.

  10. blankLaura

    I just love how you can take ordinary day-to-day happenings and turn them into wonderful stories with good lessons! 🙂 I wish I could have joined you in that candlelit, acoustic service because it sounds like it was quite powerful. God shines through it all…in physical and emotional darkness. Wishing you a blessed week, Lisa!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Yes, it was quite powerful. Would have loved to have you there, Laura! My husband was actually not planning on coming that morning because he’d had the flu, but once I clued him in on how things were progressing with no electricity, he pulled himself out of bed and came over. 🙂 (Hopefully no one caught the flu from him that morning!)

  11. blankJen Ferguson

    Oh, Lisa. I just adore this so much. Such a powerful lesson about who God is and how He doesn’t care if we show up with wet hair. He just cares that we show up. I think about how often I feel like I don’t have the energy to do the task He’s called me to, but He is the power that I need. Amen!

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Just show up – that’s been one of my go-to philosophies the past couple of years, and it’s made such a difference. Once we get there, God will show us what to do next. It’s been an exciting adventure. He definitely is the power that we need! Thanks, Jen.

  12. blanksaleslady371

    What a beautiful message and reminder that God is higher, more brighter than electricity. I can just picture your congregation with the candles and guitars and a new sense of adventure! We lose our power from time to time here to, mostly in storms. I know all about not getting the shower, or the breakfast!

  13. blankfloyd

    No coincidences in God’s economy… Sounds like our Christmas Eve service. The only things burning is a small candle in each hand that glows a beautiful blanket of Light.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      My daughter’s church does the same for their Christmas services–every year at some point they pass out candles and then turn out all the lights and sing. It’s become one of our new Christmas traditions as of 3 years ago to attend one of their services as a family. There’s just something about Light, in whatever form he wants to show up in! Thanks, Floyd.

  14. blankMichele Morin

    “We had power. We had light. We had heat.” Such a great way to say that Jesus was there. I’m always glad when I see your face at one of these link ups. Great to bump into you at Holley’s today.

  15. blank~ linda

    “God Unplugged” ??? I saw the title on the link up and thought, “Now what could that mean?” So I came and am so blessed by reading this tonight. Seeing the Light of Jesus with or without electricity, feeling the Power of the Holy Spirit with or without electricity, sensing the Glory of God with or without…our hearts are where He dwells and it is there where we can know Him…with or without electricity.
    I love this.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

  16. blankJen

    Lovely story, Lisa, and so true! He shows when and where we gather. 🙂 I’m stopping by tonight from Tell His Story. Thanks for this!
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Jen. I know I take for granted that the Lord will always show up, but it’s really a HUGE thing to know he’s with us everywhere we go. Quite the miracle!

  17. blankJean Wise

    wow what a cool story. God does have a knack for the dramatic, doesn’t he? I did laugh though as when I saw the title of this post – Unplugged – I thought it would be about getting off the computer and smart phone – one of my addictions but glad it was a different kind of unplugged. Very inspirational too.

    1. blankLisaNotes Post author

      Unplugging us from our electronics is a miracle of another kind. 😉 I need God to keep working on me with that one too, Jean. Of course if he’d keep the electricity off for extended periods of time, my batteries would all drain and eventually I’d have to shut down my phone and computer. ha.

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