Tuesday, May 14, 2013

And Sarah Laughed

Have you ever been given an assignment or task that defied normal standards and seemed outrageous or impossible? What was your reaction? Did you laugh? In the biblical account of Abraham and Sarah (Genesis 18), when the angel of the Lord told Sarah that she would conceive a son beyond her childbearing years (she was almost ninety years old)--she laughed! Now, I have heard some folks criticize Sarah for laughing, but in some cases, laughing seem like the appropriate reaction to a situation that seems "hilariously impossible". If you were in Sarah's place, would you have laughed? Here you are, almost ninety years old, your man IS ninety, you haven't engaged in any sexual relationships for many years, and here is a complete stranger standing before you saying that you are going to conceive a child. Your initial reaction would probably be to laugh, also!

I, too, have had my laughable situations. In 2006, I was sitting idly in my bedroom, watching TV. The Lord spoke to me (yes, in an audible voice) and told me to write a play about domestic violence in the church. I laughed and questioned, "Why would I write a play about domestic violence in the church, I have no knowledge of this subject matter nor do I know anyone involved in such a matter?" Not to mention, such a controversial subject matter could get me excommunicated from the church!" He sternly replied, "Write the play and do not procrastinate!" I knew that He was serious, so I wiped that smile right off my face and picked up my pen and paper and commenced to writing.

A week later, while watching the news, a reporter announced "Minister in Tennessee Murdered By His Wife"! Overtures of domestic violence echoed throughout the case. A week after that, I attended a women's meeting entitled "Girl Talk" at my church. During the question and answer session, a woman sent in a question that read, "What if you are being abused by your husband who happens to be a Pastor?" Dead silence engulfed the room-- you could hear a pin drop! No one had an answer and the issue was immediately sidelined and swept under the rug. My laughable situation now became a matter of great importance.

One afternoon, after realizing that God intended for me to take this production to the nations, I went on a quest to find a facility to debut this production. I decided that it would be presented similarly to a dinner theater so I was on my way to look at a local dinner theater facility. Once again, God audibly spoke to me and told me to go to a facility that I have never visited and had no knowledge of-The George Washington Memorial Masonic Temple, located in the center of Alexandria "Old Town" Virginia. Once again, I laughed! Lord, you want me (a Christian minister) to take a subject matter involving church to the Masonic Temple? I always believed that God has a sense of humor but soon found this wasn't the occasion! Once again, He sternly replied "Go!" Reluctantly, I drove to the "Masonic Temple" and went inside.

Once inside, I discovered that this facility housed a beautiful amphitheater. I wanted the play to be performed in an intimate setting that was not too large yet large enough. The amphitheater's capacity seating is 375, which was sufficient enough and intimate indeed. In fact, it was just what I envisioned with its exquisite d├ęcor-it reminded me of the Roman amphitheaters with its beautiful white pillars reaching to the sky.

Then, there was the second requirement - the dinner. I didn't want the typical dinner theater setting where the dinner was served during the performance-this subject matter was too important to combine with the distractions that a dinner would ensue. My vision was to have the dinner first, and then show the performance in a separate area. To my amazement, the Masonic Temple housed two dining rooms and a great assembly hall that were in direct proximity to the theater. Everything I needed to accomplish this task was right in front of me, in one facility. Now, look who's laughing? Not me!

After Sarah laughed, the angel asked Abraham "Is there anything too hard for God? Truly, I can emphatically reply "No!" From the idea's inception to the debut night of this production, God orchestrated every move. He made provisions every step of the way to make this mandate a reality. The auditions drew approximately 70 interested performing artists. The cream of the crop was selected from that group, who I credit for making the production a huge success. The production opened to a sold out audience. In fact, we had to turn people away at the door due to fire safety issues. The staff at the Masonic Temple treated us like "royalty" and bent over backwards to make our production a success. The reception from the audience was overwhelming. They cheer, applauded, cried, sighed - they were awesome! It was a night I will never forget.

I would like to mention that the only financial resource that I had to invest in this production was my tax return for that year. Although I reached out to several churches and organization for investments and sponsorship, only one church and one non-profit organization responded and the funds only covered the microphones for one technical rehearsal; we had a total of seven technical rehearsals. Yes, God is a miracle worker because he certainly came through financially in a big way - He made provisions for advertising, costuming, staging, - EVERYTHING! Not to mention, favor with the RIGHT people.

I must interject that opposition came on every hand to try to deter our God-given mission. Some criticized us for having the production at the Masonic Temple and some refused to attend because of their perceptions of the Masons. Some Pastors disapproved of me exposing such a controversial subject matter. But, I will forever stand on this, when God gives me a mission, I rather please God than man! His approval has a more lasting impact. I truly believe that we left an "anointed" residue in the Masonic Temple that will change the complexity of that facility forever - it will never be the same.

Now, here is the ultimate validation that God had indeed given me the mandate to write this play and why the serious warning not to "procrastinate". A Change Is Gonna Come made its debut on June 9, 2007. On the evening of August 22, 2007, I received a text message from a friend in Atlanta telling me that Prophetess Juanita Bynum (a prominent prophetess known both nationally and internationally) had been domestically assaulted by her husband Bishop Thomas Weeks. I am not mentioning this to exploit or to spread rumors about this unfortunate incident - my sympathy goes out to this couple; however, I mention it to prove that God's Word does not return void and His Mandate indeed has purpose and probable cause. If I had procrastinated and had not accepted the assignment at the appointed time, my testimony on how I received the mandate to write this play audibly, while sitting idly in my room would have been nullified.

Now, God has given me the mandate to further take this production to the nations and we have catapulted to another level - the historic Lincoln Theater scheduled for June 13, 2008. I am moving forward without procrastination - and I am not laughing!

Maybe, you too are facing a laughable situation - ask yourself this question "Is there anything too hard for God? Can God? God Can! The Clark Sisters penned these words in a popular song "If you can believe and receive it, God will perform it today!" I challenge you to step out on faith! Believe God for a miracle.

In conclusion, the angel also reiterated this fact to Abraham - "Sarah shall have a son!" He did not let her reaction or the visible circumstances (Sarah's barren womb, Abraham's dried sperm) change the mandate or the promise. If God has given you a mandate, I encourage you to birth your dream - you are pregnant with promise. Carry your baby full-term! Be confident that He who Promised Is Faithful! And that's no laughing matter.

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