i have grown more and more comfortable with preaching on sunday mornings.
don’t get me wrong. i love the study. i love the power the word of god has in our lives. i love proclaiming the truth of jesus to people. it is an overwhelming privilege for me to have the time to do what others cannot.
i’m not at all convinced that the way preaching is done in the church these days is what jesus and apostles had in mind back in the first century, but it’s pretty hard to change centuries of tradition! so i will keep working with what we have, give my best, make adjustments where we can…and keep laying the word out there for people to respond to.
over the past few years, there are a handful of sermons that i would say are favorites of mine. sounds kind of self-centered when i say it though…
today’s message would certainly be one of them.
there are few things that i am more passionate about than seeing the church be a legitimate conduit of the love of god to people. and not just people like me. but anybody. everybody.
i believe with my whole heart that the church should be a place…no, thee place… where anybody should be accepted… where it should be easy to find and make friends…and the risk of letting people really know us should be minimal.
the door to our churches (especially north point), should be wide open…wider than any other door in our community. where forgiveness and understanding flow freely…and gentleness and kindness in relationships is lived out.
the church should be the place where honesty and transparency are affirmed…and differences are not reasons for rejection. it should be where life together is simple and warm.
if not here, where?
but instead, the church is so often a place that breeds judgment and ranks sin in ways the master never intended. we create conditional relationships (if you stop this or that, then i’ll become friends with you). we expect…and even honor…hypocrisy and hiding.
we preach that “god loves you just the way you are”…but we really don’t.
but, here should be the one place…of all places in society…where people can say “i want you to really know me”…and it would be safe and the love of God would be supreme.
i love being part of a church family that affirms this value and is committed to living it out.
live and love boldly this week. let your light shine. point people to jesus and let him be the one that changes them. you just worry about loving people.