The Most Precious Preaching Lesson…I have ever learned
Devotional THoguht of the Day:
20 But dear friends, use your most holy faith to build yourselves up, praying in the Holy Spirit. 21 Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the Lord Jesus Christ with his mercy to give you life forever.
22 Show mercy to some people who have doubts. 23 Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes which are dirty from sin. Jude 20-22 NCV
“I noticed,” Pastor Crabtree told me, “that as I told the story of God’s identification with us, of the pain God himself experienced in the death of his son, that the weeping stopped, that people, including Rebecca’s mother and father and fourteen-year-old brother leaned forward in their seats and listened intently. God’s story was touching them where they hurt most and giving them hope.
“Many people in this small town were deeply touched by the story of God. A high school history teacher, for example, said to me, ‘What I took home from that funeral message was this: this world is turned upside down, and Jesus is the only one who can fix it.’
“ ‘You got it,’ I said, and he answered, ‘Yes I did!’ ”
What can I say? There is no story in this world that is more profound than the story of God’s embrace. My dinner companions heard the gospel in a new way. And each of them, in their own way, is growing in the life-changing embrace of God, as I am and I trust you are too. For there is no story but God’s; no God but the Father, Son and Spirit; and no life but the baptized life.
As I looked on FB this morning, to see who I should add to my prayer list, it revealed ot me that this is a special anniversary, the day I took my then 7-year-old son home for the first time. Not home as in the place we live, but home as in the place that I consider my home. Not a house, nor a place where the family gathered, but the place I want to be more often than not. Not even a church, but a simple road.
It is the place where we could be still, or walk slowly, and just rest in God’s peace.
I mentioned it in a sermon once, a sermon delivered before other pastors, a sermon that was to be critiqued, and shredded, but there were tears instead. You can read about that time here: https://asimplechristian.org/2014/10/21/walking-with-god/
The reading from Dr. Weeber this morning also reminded me of this. My job as a preacher, as a shepherd is not to dazzle people with my theological acumen, or grind them into the ground with guilt, only to let them up at the last second. It isn’t to make statements about politics or drive them to give and support just causes.
That will happen, as I disciple, as I teach and counsel, as people realize what I am here to tell them.
That God’s story is their story, that their story completely involves God. We don’t walk on deserted stretches of road alone, nor do we drive the freeways of Southern California unaccompanied. Whether it is at the beach, or a party, or crying alone in a park, or even on our deathbed, He is here…. with us.
That’s what our people need to know, that God doesn’t leave us alone, and in order to be here, He does what is necessary, forgiving us, cleansing us, healing us, loving us, comforting us, welcoming us to share in His glory and peace.
He is here…in our story, we in His. He is our God, we are His people…..
That’s what we need to tell them…and that is what we preachers need to hear. AMEN!
Webber, Robert E. The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006. Print. Ancient-Future Series.
Posted on October 21, 2017, in Ancient Future, Devotions and tagged God's love, God's story, Juan Carlos Ortiz, love, preaching, Robert Schuler, walking with God. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.