Friday, March 12, 2004

a hard drive and a hard message

I haven't posted in a while because my hard drive freaked out on me. After hours of work, this computer guru/saint salvaged my documents. And this was HUGE because I had all my documents since college, all my seminary papers, and all my notes for this year on there. God is faithful and can even work through computer nerds. So I am currently in the process of rebuilding the software and all the pictures and music which were once on my hard drive. It was a good lesson in learning to back things up.

I am also currently working on a 15 minute sermon to an audience of "lost people." These were my directions from the big wigs at the Baptist Convention of Maryland. I have been wrestling with it all week in my head. My understanding of how people come to know Christ has changed so much in the last few years. I don't think it just happens from a sermon. I think it happens after countless conversations and involvement in a loving Christian community. But I guess I limit God if I say that He can't work through a singular 15 minute sermon.

I think I finally have an outline in my head to work with. It won't be expository, however, and seems to be much more inductive in nature. It will be strange though as I try to keep my language and my analogies such that non-Christians can understand. All the while, it will be in front of three old men, who have been Christians for decades, with pens and paper taking notes on my preaching skills. I am not even sure I WOULD "preach" to an audience of people who don't go to church and don't know the message of the gospel. I think I would rather sit around with them over some highly caffeinated drink and discuss things.

We will see how it comes out. I am actually going to type it up tonight. I never thought it would be so hard to put together a 15 minute message which, in the end, offers salvation to the audience. It seems a bit trite to me. I will do my best to break out of the traditional mold of preaching, regardless of the consequences from my "graders." I really want to try to forget these folks who are critiquing my preaching and simply focus on the hypothetical audience. It may be one of the most important messages I ever struggle with.

Father, I ask for your clarity of thought, your wisdom of words, and your power of communication. I pray that they will above all sense you speaking through me rather than me fumbling over my own words.


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