A Message Redeemed?

There are times…in the  course of pastoral ministry…when a pastor does not get to devote as much attention to sermon preparation as usual.  For me, this past Sunday was one of those messages.  I usually have very high standards for myself, but due to coming back from vacation and other issues that arose, the composition time for this message was severely shortened.

On top of that, we did not have our praise team as two key persons on the team were not able to be in attendance due to family emergency.  Add these things together, and I was not feeling overly positive about the services.

We made due with what we had and the service went alright.  I walked away thinking that we did “okay”.  However, after the second service, something happened that redeemed everything and made Sunday’s service a service I would not trade for anything.

We had a guest in the church Sunday who was experiencing a call to ministry.  As a part of his process, he was visiting other churches to see what God was doing in His Church.  I took some time to talk with him after the service…and I am so glad I did.

Just before he left, this young gentleman, with tears in his eyes said to me, “I just feel like I am at a point in my life where I have lost God.  But, now I know why God brought me here today.  I needed to here your message.  I really appreciate it.”  Can you believe that!  I love it when that happens!

Even in the midst of my neglect and lack of preparation.  Even on a Sunday when everything seemed to fall apart.  Even when I walked away feeling a little…well…guilty for not putting in the time I require of myself…God redeemed the message.

I am not sure how many times I have to learn this point.  If we allow God to use us…He will…and usually in spite of ourselves.  Now, this is not an excuse to procrastinate and/or be lazy.  But it is a sign of hope…that no matter what the situation…no matter what the circumstances…God is in the business of redeeming.

I believe that that young man was brought to our church for a reason.  I also believe I preached that message for a reason.  And God brought it all together…and in spite of us both…used His words, through my mouth, and that man’s heart…to bring glory to Himself.

Man!  GOD ROCKS!!!

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2 thoughts on “A Message Redeemed?

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve had a few Sundays where I just didn’t feel great about the sermon, but I didn’t know where else to go with it. It seems like every time that happens, it is exactly what somebody needed to hear. It’s humbling and encouraging to know that God can work even when we don’t feel like we’ve done all that we can do. Sometimes, the best thing we can do is just get out of the way.

  2. It really doesn’t make sense in human/worldly/logical terms, does it? Of course you give your absolute, best, most excellent effort — but not because God is a weak perfectionist Who only uses flawless things. You give your best because it’s an offering, and God is holy and gracious and worthy of excellence in all things.

    This is something my friend Laura talks about with her art, that she can’t be too hung up on whether people understand or appreciate it, because its first purpose is to be the very best offering she’s capable of giving. But whatever pressure there is for an artist, I have to imagine the pressure to “perform” is much, much greater for a pastor.

    Blessings to you.
    SJ

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