Sunday, February 24, 2008

Preaching blues

I'm getting up this Sunday and preaching. Yep I'm giving a sermon. Its not the first time, but apart from God giving me a no brainer sermon that I know already I'm having to scratch this one out.

I do prefer it when God taps me on the shoulder and says Hey have this pot of gold and give it to everyone on Sunday. I love that. It's only happened once. The other time I've been up there I had an idea that I didn't research well enough and it didn't really fit in with the flow of worship before hand and I was feeling a bit out of place. I went and presented my findings on the armor of God (Ephesians chapter 6:10 and a bit further) but I felt it was a flop. Even after all the encouragement of the rest of the Church I still felt I was at a loss that time.

This time I want to get it right. This time I want to be prepared. So I prayed about what I should be doing, I'm sure about it. James 4:1-11. Thats a pretty hard piece. James calls the believers, murderers and adulterers. He doesn't mince words at all. He tells it as God sees it.

So I'm sitting here at my computer thinking about all of this and wondering if I'm right. Have I found what I'm supposed to be giving? This is hard stuff. Do I want to give this message?

There's a whole load of other things I could do, but God keeps on calling me back here. I can't escape it. There is no other passage of scripture that I can think about other than this one.

I think about my style up there which sort of like rabbit in the headlights at times. My hands shake cause I'm nervous and then I loose my place in my notes and I have to pause for a while and collect myself. I try and rehearse a few bit of it on my walks with the dog and that seems to work a bit. So I'm getting more comfortable with it. Yet I don't want to be copying someone else. I want to be me relating what God has shown me about this piece of very hard scripture.

There are things to explain here and I know I can't get technical. I need for everyone there in Sunday to understand it all. The words need to be simple and if they can't be simple then they need to be explained. I need to make it so that both believers and unbelievers can accept this message. It needs to be a call to those within the Church who are holding back parts of their lives from God and also to those who need to heed his call and come to Him for the first time.

Time passed between this paragraph and the previous on and God's given me a starting point as well as a structure. Praise God.

I should probably start here with the structure and then take it away and fill it out.

  • Start with the passage. James 4:1-10 or 11 depends on how its going.
  • Begin by explaining the journey this will take and how its supposed to come together
  • Where we are now as believers and unbelievers in relation to God
  • How we are adulterers
  • That God's way out through the death of Christ and His grace is able to cleanse us of our sin and bring us into a new relationship with Him
That all sounds about right. Now all I have to do is write it up including all the side points.

Lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Gotta hold on to that don't I.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Bible school

Yes that word does fill me with a bit of dread. Bible school where young Christians go to be infected with the leagalisim and negativity of the old and weary scholars.

Obviously thats not the case and is just a stereotype. But its one I've seen.

So yes as I commenced my little bible school (which if you do the testing it gives you a level of credit toward certain certificates and diploma's available) with some apprehension. I had heard the man who was leading the course preach before and was quite confident that He wasn't a jaded and weary scholar. In fact Tony Schmit is anything but jaded. He's alive and vibrant, you can see his love of the scriptures as he explains it through his own experiences.

I got a lot out of it and I really enjoyed myself. I can't wait till the next installment. The fact that its only on once a month is good but I wish it were on again this weekend.

Gee I'm a bit of a push over. Yet that just shows that my protest was just my snobbery. My experience had put my focus out and I am wary when being taught from someone I don't know. Now thats not all bad, provided you are using your knowledge of the scriptures and taking guiding from Holy Spirit. If you are merely testing the words and deeds of the person teaching you then thats ok. We are taught to check what is taught to us.

But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
1 Thessalonians 5:21

Now that context is about prophecy but I think it fits well when it comes to all things that are said to be from God. Whether this is something said in church, or outside church. Don't accept everything said is from God without checking this with the scriptures and also with Holy Spirit. Even Jesus proved himself not just by saying who he was he did things and said things and he can be tested and proven to be true in His actions and deeds. The same must be for all who preach and testify to speak the truth of the Gospel. The words they say may not be what you are used to and some things they do may be awkward. These things may just be tradition and how they are used to expressing themselves. When this occurs be patient, search beyond the way of saying things to the heart of what they are saying. Holy Spirit will confirm his presence in those who are true.

I had another situation this very Sunday at the evening service. Our pastor was explaining faith healing and for an explanation showed Benny Hinn's recent outing in Venezuala. Now Benny's way of doing his thing isn't they way I'd do it. The white suit, his style of speaking. It just grates me. But I cannot deny the miracles that occur when he comes to town. I cannot deny the work of God. I cannot deny the confirming Holy Spirit brings to me when I hear this woman describing the miracle he performed upon her. Have a look.

Benny still grates me though. Why the white suit Benny? Why the white suit?