Sunday, February 21, 2010

God Delights To Surprise

Author:  Susan L. Prince

I can't WAIT to share because God just really showed me His Presence this weekend and not in any HUGE major way, just in small things. When He opens my eyes enough to see Him in the small, it just magnifies His Glory that much more!

Here's the one from Saturday. I am a BIG Jennifer Knapp fan and was excited to see her perform last night at TPAC in Nashville. My friend Katrina and I made arrangements to spend the night in Franklin and visit Grace Chapel church on Sunday morning.

Not only did Jennifer Knapp come onto that stage with only her guitar and God given voice, the chick gave a stellar performance that I enjoyed greatly. What a gift she has and I'm so thankful she is choosing to share it again. (Photo by Knapp Fan David Crenshaw)  

The band, Todd Snider, that she opened for was great, wow they were good, but it was not my kind of music. A bit too country for me, so Katrina and I decided to leave. As God would have it, He timed all that perfect so that I would be able to MEET JENNIFER KNAPP again (I met her once before at the Mid-South Fair in Memphis in 2000) as she stood near her table where the demo CDs were. (I had already pre-ordered her release and had a demo in pocket!) Yes! I got to look in that woman's eye and say "thank you for sharing your music. I saw you perform at The Belcourt last fall and you rocked!" Katrina and I continued to share with her that we had had the chance to talk with her once before ten years ago in Memphis. Anyway, that was a neat treat and did get a couple of pictures with her, so that rocks.

Onto the next part of the story. A few months ago, I received a notice from that I had earned a "free download" of music for being such a great customer. This download was for a full length mp3 album of my choice, but the choice was to come from specific selections and of those I had to choose from were about 800 different albums. I did not want to waste my free album, so I took my time to sample hundreds of CDs over many days and weeks to be sure to choose the perfect one. I'm a music junkie and I am always looking for something new that inspires me, something that stands out from the rest of the mediocrity out there.

I searched and searched all of the rock titles and the Christian rock titles. I am a "rock 'n' roller"! I love rock music! Hard rock music! I had fun going through some old tunes from back in the day and stuff but then after days of deliberation and frustration that nothing was jumping out I came upon a CD called "Heaven on Earth" - Covenant Worship with Nicole and David Binion. Never heard of them? Neither had I, until I sampled their music. This is NOT music I am naturally drawn to, but something about this particular one captured my attention and I ended up downloading this as my "free mp3 album". Normally I'd find music from Disciple, DecembeRadio, Switchfoot, or Skillet or some band like that. Choosing a praise and worship CD is highly unlikely, but God led me to it.

I was so excited about this music and I listened to the album over and over. I shared it with a couple of friends who like exactly this type of worship music, but both were very surprised that I LIKED IT! LOL Anyway, the music pierces my heart with words of truth and just plain good music. God becomes real to me through it. You know how good music can be?

Now, moving on. Jennifer Knapp was lot of fun, but hardly compares to the experience today. Grace Chapel is a huge church, but it is often packed and difficult to find a seat. We made sure to arrive early, so after breakfast in a nifty place called Country Boy restaurant in Leiper's Fork, we made our way to the church and found a seat. This church offers communion each week before each service for anybody wanting to partake. A prayer is said, people go up to get the elements, return to their seat, quietly meditate/pray or whatever and take of the bread and blood. As I watched people do this, I noticed that I recognized one woman walking up the aisle and took a seat directly behind me. Didn't think too much of it, people sometimes look alike, you know?

Soon, the praise and worship music started and it was so uplifting as it always is there. (Amazing musicians and music!) I heard a female voice accompanying worship that sounded familiar to me, but I've listened to the Grace Chapel stuff online a few times, so that explained away the familiarity.

As the music and worship continued, I was getting into the music. Then I heard a familiar male voice and thought naaaah, can't be. Worship continued and then I heard a SONG I KNOW VERY WELL! I turned to Katrina and said "no way!" and she said "oh, they do this song all the time", so I was kind of crushed because I thought I had figured out why I was so familiar with the voices and the song. But, then the woman next to me, a Grace Chapel member, got my attention and asked "who are those people? I have never seen them here before." and then I KNEW. MY HUNCH WAS CORRECT! Get this: I said "I know who they are, Binion is the name. David Binion, but I forget his wife's name." So, worship really took off now because they taught the song "Heaven and Earth" to the church, in parts (which was cool) and everyone could then belt it out to the Lord! Woohooo! I was so taken aback that God had given me such an awesome revelation that He is ever present! MAN! I started thinking what are the chances? what are the chances? 

What are the chances that I would land on THAT one album of worship music (out of my normal character to purchase),after spending DAYS and weeks poring over 800 selections that I had to choose from, only to visit a church that I live two and a half hours from, and to have the ARTISTS of that album that has been such a blessing to me, leading worship today!?!?!??!?!?!???????????


I was totally blown off the planet by that one! Meet Jennifer Knapp, now this? WOW!

Then, the message for the service was fantastic about being spiritually blind and how we are to be used in the recovery of sight for the blind. Mind blowing stuff from Pastor Steve today, convicting...but that's for another day.

After the service, I went over to the Binion's and thanked them for leading worship and sharing with us today. I shared my story of how I came upon their CD and they thought it was so cool, and seemed surprised in a way. I also shared about the surprise God gave me that I live 2.5 hours away and was only in town visiting Grace Chapel and that the people responsible for that awesome worship CD that has been edifying me for months were here live and in person to lead the music! WOW WOW WOW! Nicole said "It is amazing what God does, my name is Nicole, what is yours?" and we talked a bit more until I excused myself to go wait for Katrina back at my seat.

As I was sitting there I saw that woman I had seen earlier that I recognized. Not being totally sure of who she was I just kind of observed, and then I heard her speak while she talked to a person about the amazing message she heard. As soon as I heard her voice, I knew who it was and that I was right. Kathy Troccoli was seated behind me worshipping at Grace Chapel today. How cool is that?

Anyway, God totally blessed my time with Katie this weekend and I am ever so grateful. He also went above and beyond and put a couple of exclamation points on the days! Woohooo! God is good! :)

Seeing Jennifer Knapp and being able to talk with her is not any monumental thing in life, but it was special to me.  It was nothing God had to do for me.  It didn't really grow me spiritually, but I believe God took pleasure surprising me with that, knowing full well I would enjoy it.

Worshiping with David and Nicole Binion at Grace Chapel today was quite a surprise and very special to me.  Their songs have helped me reach a place of intimacy with God over the past couple of months that I don't often experience.   I was able to worship God in a deep way today because I knew He delighted in surprising me.

My time with Katie was blessed as well.  Two friends and sisters in Christ that have experienced so much together, but are now living lives completely different than they were a year ago.  God is delighting in growing the both of us in Him, and He delights in surprising us.

He Bloggles the mind.