I have a lot of friends at The Village Church in Texas. Specifically Denton, but probably others, as well. Casey Straughn and his wife are two of them that I met through the band Least Of These years ago. Samantha Curbow has become a friend over the years since I met her at Cornerstone Festival. I had the special privilege of being used of God in her life when the Holy Spirit saved her through a gospel moment during one of my Levi The Poet sets, I think on the Arkansas Stage. When she moved to Denton, I told her about Matt Chandler and suggested she get plugged in at The Village. She even got baptized there recently in a super metal looking "Death To The Wolf" LTP t-shirt that I used to sell. She sent me a video recording of her pre-dunking testimony and I couldn't stop crying.
There are more. In short, The Village holds a special place in my heart.
Recently, Denton was sent out to be it's own autonomous church plant. I say "sent out" instead of "split off" because the voting was nearly unanimous, with 96% of the covenant members agreeing that The Lord was leading their campus in that direction. The first thought that comes to my mind this morning is how amazing it is that a body of Denton's size stood in such agreement, even when it meant Chandler would no longer be the preaching pastor. I have been a part of too many churches whose people worship the speaker more than the savior. How I long that we would all be so united as to advocate for change when it will further Jesus' mission, as opposed to grumbling over who is on stage.
I listened to Pastor Matt give a sermon on prayer a few weeks ago in which he talked about his excitement for Denton, and he said something that struck a chord in my heart.
Paraphrasing, he said that he was jealous for the desperation with which Denton would now have to pray. He reminisced of early days at The Village when he and the elders would lie on their faces, weeping, completely helpless unless completely reliant upon Jesus to sustain them. He said that one of his greatest fears is that he and the people of The Village would lose that sense of desperation because they are... well, The Village.
I emailed my wife, Brandi, the minute the sermon ended with tears in my own eyes wondering where my utter helplessness had gone. When was the last time I knelt face down and surrendered before that same God I constantly declared to be my source of strength? When did I start neglecting prayer for PR? I mean, I love business and marketing and growing in my understanding of both, but I want Jesus to move and give direction and clarity and hope so that those tools flow from him, as unto him - not so that they replace him.
The verse that keeps coming to mind is, "lean not on your own understanding." Over and over again.
This morning, I was reading through Psalm 119. It's pure gold. I pictured David praying it with calloused knees. I heard his voice in such a desperate tone. Begging. Like his willingness to be undignified before the Lord was a promise fulfilled in more ways than dancing.
It's what made me think of Denton, face down and desperate, and I'm thankful for their example.