Sunday, August 14, 2005

Doing Your Job

I preached today. I was a little nervous. I'm not a very good preacher. I do teaching and not everyone likes my style. I guess that could be said for any pulpit filler. I just feel more comfortable in the "Bible study" arena; where there is discussion and dialogue. But anyway, the pastor asked me to preach kind of last minute. I was hard pressed to get my research done and put together what I did. It is kind of interesting how it all came together.

When he told me that I would be preaching, he really didn't ask - I was informed. I try to accomodate and as a minister I am supposed to be really in season and out. It just was not convenient, but with God, sometimes good research and well rehearsed is a luxury - this was one of those occasions. I teach the people that I minister to to follow the Holy Spirit. I want my disciples to learn to follow after the Spirit - in order to do this they must practice so that they can recognize the voice of the Spirit and respond in obedience. Well what's good for the goose is good for the gander, so to speak. In other words, I should take my own advice.

So in preparation for this sermon I began by asking God to tell me what I should bring. He gave me some basics, inspired by Jesus' words from the Sermon on the Mount. So I wrote down what He told me and began to polish it up. I didn't have a lot of time and it wasn't coming together like I felt it should. So I got on the Internet and began to poke around looking for something that inspired me. I found an article about the church - it was some study about the real Church that Jesus built. It had some interesting points that I wanted to follow up on when I had more time. I had to work days and stuff was already planned for the evenings all the way until Sunday - how was I going to be able to get my act together. So when I looked through the new material, once again it just didn't seem to be coming together.

I prayed again and asked the Lord to show me. His response was that He already had, but I had rejected it. I repented. I threw out what I had found and went back to the original simplistic message that the Lord had given to me when I prayed the first time. I had wasted a lot of precious time working on my stuff instead of His stuff. The church service is in the afternoon on Sunday, so I had Sunday morning to work on the finishing touches to the sermon. Even so, I still did not feel comfortable with the end product. But, as I finished up, I came across a verse from Matthew that gave me hope. It said, "not to worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say." The context was not about delivering a sermon, but I felt embolded anyway.

Sure enough, though I was feeling a little uncertain all the way up to stepping up to the lecturn, the Lord came through with flying colors. I will try never to question Him again. The scripture that says if we trust Him with all our hearts, we will not be disappointed came true for me this afternoon. Praise the Lord. The message was succinct and apropos and well received. That is a very exilerating experience. I love being used by God like that.


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