This past weekend I had the honor and privilege of delivering a message to our congregation. Our senior pastor was on vacation, and me being an elder (this past March) and never having had the opportunity to teach since being installed as an elder, I was given the mission to share from God's Word.
A few months ago when Pastor Jon invited me to teach, I was absolutely excited and immediately and appreciatively accepted. Later that evening, the reality of the situation sunk in. I would be standing before nearly 1000 believers, sharing truths from the Bible, God's inerrant and eternal word. At most churches, this would not be a weighty matter. Many churches don't place importance on the Bible and are as quick to share stories from the latest issue of "Reader's Digest" or the latest book on Christian living as they are to share from the Bible.
But here at Harvest Bible Chapel, we place great emphasis on the importance of the Bible as the source for written truth about God and from God. How I handle God's Word would be extremely important. Any twinges of concern didn't go beyond that... twinges. I know that the Lord has called me and equipped me to teach and preach His word. But that doesn't lighten the burden of responsibility.
In the week preceding my time to teach, I took time off from work for prayer, meditation, and study. I asked the Lord to prepare my heart and mind so that I could receive the message that He wanted to be delivered. I didn't want any of my thoughts and biases entering in. It was a great week.
I have a great passion for the Lord, His Word, and His people. That is one of the many things that I love about the Harvest Bible Chapel movement... from the movement's founder (Pastor James MacDonald) right on down and throughout, there is a real and deep passion for the Lord. I wanted the passion that I have to show. I wanted others see it, see that it is real, and catch it too. Being a disciple of Jesus is exciting! Whether we're dealing with pleasant or unpleasant circumstances, there is excitement.
My previous teaching opportunities in Bible college, small groups, or body ministries, have been more of the scholarly angle... teaching more than preaching. Where technical accuracy was required... where every single word that was spoken must be deliberately and specifically selected. But I felt that God was giving me an opportunity to stretch. To be more free in speaking.... WITHOUT compromising the truth of Biblical doctrine.
To make a long story short, what I did this past weekend was not give a sermon... (my message contained very little of the constructs that I had learned in Homiletics class in Bible College), but a simple expedition through God's word, literally verse by verse, sharing the truth from God's word, and sharing from the heart what it means and how to apply to our lives.
Was it a good message? All I know is that God answers prayers that are in line with His will, many had been praying for me, and I was diligent to pray, study, and prepare. As long as God was glorified and His people received the message that I believe was supposed to be delivered.... that's really all that matters to me. I mean that! This isn't same cheesy attempt to fish for compliments.
If you want to see me 'red-line', if you want to see me 'maxing it out', if you want to see when I'm 'all-in' on something, it's when I'm loving God.