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Category: preaching

“And then comes Monday.”

“Then comes Monday.”

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A while back, I read Jared C. Wilson’s The Pastor’s Justification,” which was an excellent read, and I think that it would be edifying to more than just a pastor or lay leader, but to involved members and attendees of the local church.

The following excerpt from The Pastor’s Justification has been stuck on my mind for months now, and this is so true for any type of ministry, from preaching to teaching Sunday School, from law enforcement to child welfare work, and everything in between. It’s not always going to be Mondays that come, it might be any day of the week. However, we must be ready for that time of shepherding or ministry when it comes, when we are exhausted, when we might not really want any part of it.

“Then comes Monday. Many pastors take Mondays off because of the Sunday hangover. I do not. It is my worst day, so I refuse to give it to my family. Instead I work through it. It is a slog. Monday morning is when the e-mail inbox and telephone mailbox are thickest. Monday morning is when people still have questions or concerns or criticisms about Sunday. (They are starting their week full, remember? They came to church for the pick-me-up, and most of them got it.) Like everybody else, pastors are taking stock of what all must be accomplished in the week ahead. But Sunday was not a day of filling up for pastors, but pouring out.
On Monday mornings I enter my office at about 8: 00 a.m. and find that, like Sisyphus, the stone I spent the previous week pushing up the hill lay at the bottom again, ready for another go. Monday morning I must pastor. But what kind of must?
I am faced with this challenge: will I shepherd under compulsion, or willingly, as God would have me?
My first instinct is to make my shepherding contingent on my energy level. But really, my ability to exercise oversight willingly flows from my vision. No, not a vision for an “awesomely bold” church— at least, not at first— but of my God and for the flock of God that is among me.
How we see God on Monday morning will affect whether we oversee his church willingly or under compulsion. And how we view the people in our church will affect whether we oversee them willingly or under compulsion.
Our omnipresent Savior is waiting for me in the office on Monday morning. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” he says (Matt. 11: 28). I am plum tuckered on Monday morning. I face ample temptation to wallow. But Jesus promises rest. I may be a shell of a pastor at this time each week, but God is no less God. His might is no less mighty. His gospel is no less power. His reach is no less infinite. His grace is no less everlasting. His lovingkindness is no less enduring.”
(Wilson, Jared C. (2013-07-31). The Pastor’s Justification: Applying the Work of Christ in Your Life and Ministry (pp. 33-34). Crossway. Kindle Edition.)

This has been greatly convicting to me, in my spirit, because I have been there, not pastorally, but in other areas of life and ministry. I have faced this very temptation to take that next day off. And, I must admit, that I have succumbed to that temptation from time to time. My prayer for myself and everyone is that we face our “Mondays” with the strength that God will provide for us and not hide from them in our own weakness.

 

 

 

Sermon Preparation

Wow, it has been a bit of time since I have last posted on here, and a lot has gone on in my life. However, I think the most important thing to mention is that I preached my first Sermon, and have written my second which I will be preaching on Father’s Day, tomorrow.

Now, I have prepared two sermons now, the first one, which I have already preached was on James 2:14-26, Faith without works is dead. And the second, which I will be preaching tomorrow, is on Exodus 20:7, the Third Commandment, You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

And, there is one thing that has really struck me, something that is obvious in hindsight, but hit me like a ton of bricks….while preparing the sermons, I have been so convicted and so challenged on a personal level by God and His Word, it terrified me. I was never expecting such a feeling of conviction to come over me like that, but, now that I feel it, I embrace it and I praise God for it. As I have taught the youth at my church, we learn from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 that in any and all circumstances, we need to rejoice, pray, and give thanks. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18, ESV).

So, to that end, I am going to enjoy this process because I know that as I preach more, I prepare more, and I will be convicted more, so I will grow more. Thank you Jesus, thank you!

Soli Deo Gloria

Charles Spurgeon on Depression

Lately, I have been feeling kind of down, however, I know there is hope. One of the world’s most prolific preachers, Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, suffered from depression. And, after suffering a bout of depression, he preached, on November 7th, 1858, a sermon entitled “The Christian’s Heaviness and Rejoicing” based on 1 Peter 1:6, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:” (1 Peter 1:6, KJV 1900).

And, he preached these words in the sermon, words that are true about depression, or heaviness, and rejoicing..

“When the child of God is sore-stricken and much depressed, the sweet hope, that living or dying, there is an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in heaven for him, may indeed make him greatly rejoice. He is drawing near the gates of death, and his spirit is in heaviness, for he has to leave behind him all his family and all that life holds dear. Besides, his sickness brings upon him naturally a depression of spirit. But you sit by his bedside, and you begin to talk to him of the
“Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood,
Arrayed in living green.”
You tell him of Canaan on the other side the Jordan—of the land that floweth with milk and honey—of the Lamb in the midst of the throne, and of all the glories which God hath prepared for them that love him; and you see his dull leaden eye light up with seraphic brightness, he shakes off his heaviness, and he begins to sing,
“On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wishful eye,
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,

Where my possessions lie.””

Our God is an amazing God, and how He used Spurgeon with such words he spoke 156 years and 1 day ago to comfort my life now, is just more evidence to the awe and wonder of our God.

Spurgeon, C. H. (1858). The New Park Street Pulpit Sermons (Vol. 4, pp. 462–463). London; Glasgow: Passmore & Alabaster; James Paul; George John Stevenson; George Gallie.

 

The Shocking Sermon…

Here is a sermon that I recently listened to by Paul Washer, given to a Youth Evangelism Conference:

Click HERE for the link to it on SermonAudio.com

Click HERE for the Youtube video.

This is a great sermon. Right on target, and very much so straight forward.

Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53 (ESV)

“1 Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors.”

This morning, I read Isaiah 53 in my daily devotions, and it was around this time, a few verses in, that my four-year-old daughter started asking me to read her a story from the Bible. So, I read her Isaiah 53. Such a beautiful description of the purpose of Christ. As I read, she paid some attention to me. Then, I began to share with her what this chapter is about: Jesus. His life. His purpose. His plan. His death. And His resurrection. And to this part, she listened with great attention. Normally, when I am spending my mornings with God, however, today, it was a welcome addition to my morning, sharing about our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, with my daughter.

And, more about Isaiah 53, it is filled with such rich theology and doctrine. It was such a refreshing read this morning. If I were a preacher, I would love to preach through Isaiah 53. It’s one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible.

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