In the list of dates that have affected my life, May 2, 1999 is one of the top. It’s not my birthday or that of my wife or one of our kids. It’s not our anniversary. It’s not any of the normal days, but it’s one I mark every year nonetheless.

When I woke up on that day, I didn’t know that it would be special. It was a Sunday and I went to church like I did at the time, just in time for Sunday School. My new wife was at my side. We’d been married for just four months (to the day). Married life was really starting to hit its stride.

After church, we went home, planning to cook something nice for lunch and enjoy the afternoon before church that night. It was then that everything changed. I got a call from my sister. “Dad died,” she said, her voice tremoring.

My father was so ill after a stroke that he’d lived in a nursing home for the previous two years. He almost never spoke. I’d hoped that he’d recover, but he didn’t. Time after time the call had come, he’s close. He wasn’t. In fact, he’d rallied a bit lately. I would later find out that he died between 11 and 12 that day.

I remember thinking, “I have no father, but God now.” I knew he would have been pleased that we were all (my wife, my sister, my mother, and I) in church when he died. That was one of the most important things to him in life–his relationship with Jesus.

I packed my two suits and headed to my mother’s house, my new wife in tow, consoling me all the way. The arrangements would take some time to complete, so I found myself spending time with my family, reliving old memories. I resolved to read a poem I’d written about him at his funeral. It was a difficult time, even though my grief was tempered by the hope we both shared that death is not the end and we’d see each other again.

At the same time that my father died, something new was being born. I didn’t know at the time, but a worship service fifteen minutes away would eventually change my life.

At 10:05 (I’m told), a fuse blew. Power to the sound of a church start-up had failed. People I had yet to meet, rushed around, prayerfully trying to figure out what had gone wrong. One rushed to a local store hoping to buy a replacement. The service was about to begin “unplugged” style when he returned with the new fuse. The sound board roared to life. The first service at Quest Community Church was beginning.

I didn’t yet know anything about video. My computer was a P-75 with 24 megs of ram (two four meg sticks and two eight meg sticks) running Windows 95. I’d never heard of a blog. The internet was filled with tabled-layout sites. Streaming video was still a dream. My wife is the only one who lived with me at the time, now I have two beautiful little girls.

A lot changes in eight years. For me, everthing did. May 2, 1999 was the day my father died and something more profound was birthed–the dream of an Acts 2 church.

Paul

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