The One Accusation I Look Forward To

February 02, 2015

"Every spring my wife and I take a spiritual retreat week. Its a time to pray, meditate, study and generally get refreshed spiritually. Another purpose is to plan my preaching calendar for the year. I have been producing a sermon calendar a year in advance for over 15 years now. Besides being one of the most productive and organizational things I do, there is a residual benefit I never could have expected or predicted. It goes something like this. I preach a message and someone will invariably approach me and tell me it was exactly what they were struggling with that week. The question that usually follows is ""How did you know?"" It many times sound like an accusation, like I snuck into their room and read their journal. The look on their faces when I tell them the message was planned almost a year ago is one I never get tired of. Frankly, it happens with such frequency that I can't believe it still surprises me after all these years. There are variations on this theme. One example is when I'm in conversation with someone and we get on a particular topic or struggle and it just happens to be what I'm preaching on that coming Sunday. I've had to say to them, ""don't think my message on Sunday had anything to do with our talk."" I never tire of that experience either. Another variation is when a particular series aligns itself with a current social trend or news item. I've done sermon series on finances, parenting, and prophecy, among others that dovetailed perfectly with the current headlines. Though I've come to expect these seeming coincidences, they still give me pause whenever they occur. But coincidences aside, it is one of the most encouraging things that happens to me as a church leader. Because for one, it's a potent example of the Holy Spirit working in my life and in the life of our church. It happens to me with such regularity and with such specificity, that it can be none other than the work of God. I have always heard that a preacher should have one eye in the Scriptures and the other on the news. Though its helpful, I personally found something more effective. Keeping both eyes in the Scriptures and gleaning what its teaching for anyone who may be listening on Sunday is a better axiom to follow. In my experience, it has helped me connect my messages to people in ways I never thought possible. As a church leader there are moments when people will attack or accuse you of something, but this is one accusation I don't mind receiving at all. Somehow it is one of those small assurances from God that I'm probably on the right track. photo credit: Elephant Gun Studios via photopin cc"


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