No doubt we all wait from time to time. Maybe a lot of the time. I find myself waiting on God…waiting…waiting. It’s easy to lose heart and have our faith challenged. And while many times God is actually waiting on us, there are situations where other things simply haven’t fallen in to place yet. The time is not right for God to act.
Isaiah chapter 60 is about Christ’s return and the very last sentence is the kicker. Verse 22b says, “I will accomplish it quickly in its time.” Even though it may seem like something is taking forever and the waiting endless, and you simply can’t see how things will ever come together, remember this verse. When it’s time, God can make things happen so quickly it may make your head spin.
For the last few years at VBS we have taken photos throughout the sessions then projected them each night during the wrap-up at the end of the day. Normally someone on the Tech Team with a real camera does the photography. This year, in order to have more photographers, I decided we would use our iPhones and the InstaShare app. I installed the app on our Media iMac ahead of time and tested it out. It worked great. We could take pictures anywhere on the campus and upload them to the iMac immediately. Once they were on the Mac, we simply dragged the pics we wanted to use into ProPresenter, put a timer on them, and voila, a photo loop for the end of the day. We even threw a short video clip into the loop a few times.
As far as video for VBS, I usually record with my Flip camera and work on the edits and final montage at home to be shown during the closing session. This year I recorded all the video with my iPhone. I used the native camera app, 8mm, and Videon. I did some minor editing on my phone (my old eyes don’t see well enough to do much), then uploaded them via InstaShare to the iMac. I did what editing I could in iMovie, then finished up at home in Premiere Elements.
It was really fun having several people taking pictures each day. We never knew what we were going to get. And the process of getting the pics from the camera to the computer couldn’t have been easier.
If you ever travel and guest speak at other churches or events, this post is for you. I want to offer some advice and make a very, very big request – if you need to use PowerPoint, videos, pictures, or any kind of multimedia, please don’t walk in at the last-minute and hand it to someone, expecting them to magically make it happen. I want to try to help you understand what it does to us mentally and spiritually when you pop in with a surprise.
This is an age-old problem in church tech particularly. We want to help make your talk successful and everything you dreamed it would be, but we aren’t magicians. Tech takes planning and preparation. While some large churches may have multiple people and computers to work on your last-minute surprise, that’s not the case for us little guys. Once the service (or pre-service) is rolling, we can’t divert that same computer to doing something else.
I haven’t had this happen to me in quite a while until recently. Just as were getting ready to roll pre-service, the guest speaker for the day came up to the booth and asked us to show a video from his website. He seemed baffled when I tried to explain that it wasn’t that simple. Then he asked us to play something from a DVD. Once again he was baffled as I tried to explain that I couldn’t set it up in ProPresenter now because it was already running audio and video, and the DVD player would override all that. Then he asked if we could project a picture, which turned out to be PDF, from his website. I did manage that one but only after downloading it and converting it to a .jpg.
I could tell he was disappointed as he left the booth. I was disappointed too, so I spent the first half of the service trying to download his video from the web on an older pc in the booth…to no avail. When I finally gave up, I realized I had missed most of the musical worship, I was totally distracted, and at the end of the day didn’t feel like had even been to church. Tech is distracting enough and requires real focus to get the job done and still be able to participate spiritually. I found myself totally out of it and disconnected, resulting in me not doing my job quite as well as I normally would have.
Normally the Pastor or I make contact with guests earlier in the week to avoid these problems, but we were both out of town all week this time and failed to do so. I’m not saying the speaker’s requests were impossible, but they were for us at that moment. We simply weren’t equipped to handle it. One of those problems I set out to rectify later that day, but the others are simply a matter of planning ahead based on our capabilities.
I’ve experienced this from the other side of the coin as well. During the several years I spent traveling with a singer/worship leader, I always checked out where we were going beforehand. Rarely ever did I walk into a church or any other venue without knowing what kind of equipment was going to be available or if I needed to carry my own in order to to do what we wanted to do.
It’s best for all concerned not to assume, walk in blindly, or surprise those trying to support you. Plan, prepare, and help us be part of the service or event as well.
A study of history reveals a definite cycle of human spiritual behavior. From the ups and downs of God’s chosen people in the Bible to American history even prior to the Revolution, we have experienced times of closeness to God and times of rebellion.
I have a personal dream to be part of a revival in our country. I read about previous great awakenings and wonder what it must have been like and then visualize one happening today – what effect it would have on our government and daily lives. It’s exciting but also disheartening when I realize how short-lived all the previous ones were. Some even debate if what took place in the 1960s and 70s actually qualifies as a great awakening.
The occurrence of these ups and downs throughout history, I believe, have been significant in delaying God’s decision to rapture the Church. And I have to admit, there are times when I’m not so sure I want to delay him. Regardless of eschatological views on whether we’re in the millennial or the tribulation, or neither, it’s doubtful that Christ will return in the midst of a revival. Prophecy seems to point to things not being so good when that happens.
This leaves us with a conundrum of experiencing a national (or better still, international) revival and theoretically delaying “the rapture,” or continuing in our societal downfall ushering in the end. What do you think?
The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” bears a lot of truth, but we shouldn’t use it to remain in the status quo. Just because something is still working doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon – made more efficient, more durable, more economical, or more interesting. It’s the only way to stay on top and ahead of the game.
I’m not advocating change for the sake of change…but then again I am in some situations. Take a church service for example. It’s probably the most predictable program format ever. While one church may slightly differ from another, it’s very easy to get stuck in a routine week after week. That goes for our daily lives too.
At the very least, change can bring an element of freshness to anything that has become routine. This is even more important today with our easily bored culture. So don’t wait til it breaks.