Thank you church for extending grace to be able to preach on Sunday nights. I had several people come up and ask me nearly the same question, so I felt like I needed to issue a clarification. I plan on addressing this next Sunday night as well, because I don’t want what was said in foolish haste to be misleading or confusing or worse yet a stumbling block to the Gospel.
One of the dangers in not manuscripting sermons is that there are times when I don’t remember what I say. So I’m struggling to remember the exact quote but I believe it was when I was talking about my sin struggle in preaching. It seemed to have come out that I think it’s a sin to enjoy preaching, because a lot of the comments and questions I had afterwards involved things like “I really enjoy doing X, is that a sin?” or “If you really love something, that’s not sin is it?”
First, let me say that if that was how you took what I said I am extremely sorry and ask for your forgiveness for a slip-of-the-tongue misrepresentation of the joy in the Christian life.
Second, let me clarify what I meant. I meant it to be sin when, in the act of doing something, you begin to covet and enjoy the praise and appreciation of others. My sin struggle is that I really love when people say “Good job” or other sorts of praises. My sinful heart covets those and feeds off of them and that puffs up my head. I’m grateful for a wife and friends who are my greatest encouragers but also the ones most apt to serve a healthy dose of Humble Pie. The sin struggle I have is from being young and green, and at times forgetting that the ability to stand and speak is a gift of grace (to put that in perspective, my greatest fear is public speaking – it’s only by God’s grace I can preach – If I get out of line I think that gift can be yanked away). This doesn’t mean you don’t do things you enjoy, but rather that in the midst of doing those things you remember (and I speak to myself on this) that the doing of such things is only by the continual grace of God. The sin many of us who lead or are at the front is that we think too highly of ourselves or end up feeding on the praise of men rather than find our soul’s contentment in the presence and glory of Christ.
Third, let me encourage you to pursue those things you enjoy and cultivate them as experiencing the pleasure and beauty of God gifting you in a certain way. There’s a line in the movie Chariots of Fire where Eric Liddel is questioned by his sister about his training and his response is “God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” I hope and pray you have something in your life that in the act of doing it (whether it be serving, working in the nursery, teaching, running, caring for the sick, etc.) that you feel God’s pleasure. God has given each of us gifts of grace to exercise in the church, and I think one of the ways to discover your grace gifts is to look at what you really love to do. Some people just love nursery duty, and that is for sure a grace gift! Others feel the pleasure of God in singing or running sound or setting up for others to exercise their grace gifts. I want you to find yours! If you have any questions or want someone to help walk you through discovering your gifts or a place to serve within the church, please don’t hesitate to contact me, Glynn, or Shelly. We would love to help in this.
I hope this clarifies what was said, if you have any questions or want to address any other concerns please email me or call me at the church office. Again, thank you for grace to be able to stand and preach God’s Word. It is truly a joyous and glorious task!