Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Thames River, London

Monday, July 28, 2008

Yesterday's Sermon on 1 Cor 13:8-13

In responding to an email this morning, a few thoughts struck me that, I believe, are worth sharing.

I am constantly amazed at what God is doing among us at WBF. Every Sunday morning is a treat and a blessing, at least it is for me. Every Sunday morning seems to bring new people and new surprises as well.

Yesterday was a particular blessing.

As I prepared for the sermon last week, the material I was going through was interesting but not very exciting. After the depth and challenge of the teaching in 1 Cor 13 up to that point, I was resigned to presenting a final, informative summary of the chapter. I thought, "OK. I'm going on vacation and this is a good way to close the chapter and start my vacation. It's a bit of a 'data dump' but a toned down lecture might not be a bad thing at this time."

One of the great blessings of having the time to study and prepare the way I do (I'm very thankful we have Elders who encourage me to take my time with sermon prep) is in seeing what God does with our commitment to His Word. I always enjoy the sermon prep but the sermon never comes out the way I thought it would. My prayer before taking the pulpit each Sunday morning is, "God I offer this sermon and my idea of what it should say up to You. Have Your way with it....and with me."

There are beautiful times when being in the pulpit is nothing more than a ringside seat to watch God take something that I thought was dry and boring...and breathe life into it. That's exactly what happened yesterday. God breathed life into something that I thought was going to be tedious and empty.

I think the same thing is true of our Worship Team. They've grown and lot and realize, as we all do, that there still a lot more room to grow. But they work hard to get ready for Sunday morning and their dedication to the music and making it fit into the message (Ron, Diane and Kelly really do strive to find or write songs that dovetail into the sermon) makes our worship sweeter and more Christ centered. They offer up their best effort....and God does the rest.

The same principle applies to the congregation as well. When the sanctuary fills with people who are eager to hear from God, people who are not only hungry for His word but thirsty for His righteousness, God pours out His Spirit on all of us.

All this is a blessing. All this is from God. The beauty is that when He begins to move, we all get to go along for the ride! We get swept up in the wake of His presence and our meager offerings become more than the sum of the parts. He takes the Pastor, the Worship Team and all the people in the pews....and makes something transcendent. It is His presence and power we feel when we get together, not my preparation, not the worship teams giftings and not the congregations heart-set. All those things are our offerings. What He makes of them is a miracle only He can produce.

May it ever be so! To Him we give the honor and glory and to Him we give our thanks.

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