Friday, August 31, 2012

It's been a while

Over the past several weeks I have been listening to a book on CD by Chuck Swindoll called "Saying It Well."  It is a very interesting book about some of his history and how he writes and delivers his his sermons each week.  I have always enjoyed listening to him speak and his sermons are always so thought provoking. 

The more I listen to him, the more I realize how much I miss being able to spend time each week preparing a sermon to deliver.  It wasn't always easy and it certainly wasn't always fun, but there was just something about it that is unlike anything else I have ever done. 

I can't say that I am a gifted speaker nor am I extremely educated in any one subject.  In-fact, I used to hate public speaking and have never been to seminary as many pastors have.  If you had asked me over 3 years ago to present a sermon I would have told you there was no way in heck I would ever do it.

I think one of the things I love most about having the opportunity to deliver a sermon is that you get to do a lot of research and a lot of study on a particular passage or topic.  Yes, I know I can do that on my own, but for some reason when i read on my own I like to read and let the words that I read sink in rather than digging into the text and really finding out what it ALL means.

I say ALL, because when I was a youth pastor, I had to take a class on the Pauline Epistles.  While the class took up a ton of my time and added a great deal of stress to my life, I still loved what I learned there. My teacher also taught at a Jewish synagogue and really knew his Jewish history.  One thing he encouraged us to do was to get away from our American way of looking at things when we read the Bible and really try to see the context of the passage in which it was written.  Both he and Chuck Swindoll talked about how we need to see things in their original context but we can also keep in mind that people have always been pretty much the same.  We all have to deal with selfish desires and all the other flaws sin has created in our lives.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about passages and really trying to find what each passage could really present to others that we may not have understood or really accepted before.  The problem I struggle with now is that while I like to do that I don't feel like I have a purpose to other than for personal development and I already have several things on my plate that God is dealing with me on. I like to see people encouraged or help them to see things in a way they may not have seen them before.  I really miss that.  It's been a while.

I guess what I am saying is that God hasn't really let me get comfortable in a lot since we moved.  He has been working on me in different ways. He has taught me a lot over the past couple years and I can now see clearer what He was teaching me even in the times I considered not-so-good times.  It's amazing how He does that.  My prayer now is that I can get a glimpse of what it is He actually has planned with/for me.

Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should. Ephesians 6:19-20 NIV

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