Month: February 2013

Dear Preacher: Do you really speak for God?

Dear Preacher, I have a thing or two to say to you. In church Sunday, the preacher I was listening to was talking about how to listen to a sermon. He was teaching us how to listen to him and apply what he told us. I powerfully resisted the inclination to consider how self-serving such a sermon might be and my heart instead acknowledged that the points he made were valid…and biblical…and wise. Still, I could not help myself. When he talked about how listening to him was listening to God speaking to us through him, it gave me pause for reflection. I reflected on how many times I might have said a similar thing…and meant it. I reflected on how natural such a thought once seemed to me. How I might think and say such a thing without much consideration of what I was actually saying. How many preachers really stop to think about the gravity and enormity of such a claim? In researching the size of the universe (aka, Googling), I found this interesting scale. When it comes to how big a statement it is to claim to be the mouthpiece of God, you have to consider: Just how big is God? By how big, I mean how big of a deal; not His size.  God is, after all, spirit and hardly seems quantifiable as to dimensions....

Read More

I like talking about you, usually—or putting the “I”, “I” in ministry

The idea that anything anybody ever does is 100% selfless is just not so. There are heroic acts—acts of great abandon and sacrifice. But every person is motivated by how he or she perceives a thing, by the values or ideals important to him or her. Selfless Facebook statuses and magnanimous Tweets I see people on venues like Facebook and Twitter talk about how they just love to minister and give of themselves to others. “I just love to give to others.” “I find it so rewarding to minister to people in need.” Beautiful. Outstanding. But the first word in each of those sentences is “I.” If you were not fulfilled by serving in that soup kitchen, if it did not make you feel better about yourself to give your time to serve others, you wouldn’t do it. Also, why share such things on social media? Is it to inspire others? Is it to impress? Where is the widow quietly giving her last coin? Why the pomp and circumstance? Why the drum-banging? Don’t get me wrong: I think givers are far more blessed and much to be preferred as companions than takers. They are better adjusted. They are happier. They are more of a joy to be around. (That last observation is a rather selfish one, I know.) The Apostle Paul put the “I” in ministry If you are...

Read More

Pin It on Pinterest