So How Does he Pick his Messages?
Every month I ask my staff: What are people dealing with the most? What are the issues that are obstructing our church member’s abilities to experience and know God. Of course, this is a tough question for me to ask… after all, if the sermons were up to me (& not God), I’d have all sorts of pet-topics that I’d love to preach on. For those of you who really know me, I secretly obsess over systematic theology. For years, I diligently studied Greek and Hebrew. I also love the doctrines of the Holy Spirit (hence, I wrote a book on tongues and prophecy); yet, I have enough fear of the Lord to ask: God, what do you want me to preach on?
Of course, every month I hope the staff tells me what I want to hear: “The church desperately needs to know more about particularist atonement theology.” “Pastor! please! We need to know more about charismatic prophecy in light of pre-millenial eschatology.” After all, I love geeking out on this kind of stuff. (& believe it or not, I used to preach these types of messages… before I understood God’s heart for lost people).
But unfortunately, the staff tells me: “Pastor, I had a dozen people come up to me this Sunday who are about to foreclose on their house because they have so much credit card debt.” And another staff tells me: “Pastor, I had 8 people tell me that they’re separating from their spouses… and they’re totally overwhelmed with parenting their young kids.”
You see, I’ve realized over the years: It’s the basic practical things that pull most people away from Christ… not a lack of deep theological or experiential knowledge. Of course, if you ask most people in Evangelical or Charismatic circles whose marriages are failing, “What do you want to hear?” they’d rather beg for more theology or worship experiences (rather than get a budget and a date night).
So, after giving a big sigh… I say: “O.K. God… I’ll preach on marriage!” And that’s exactly what we’re doing in this new series called: “The Vow.”
Don’t get me wrong: I love this topic too. In fact, after 18 years of being best friends with my wife, I’ve made a few funny mistakes (which I will likely confess to you this coming weekend.) But, seriously: One of the most important questions you need to be able to answer in your Christian life is: “Who is the mate God has chosen for you?” (Or, How do I stay married to the one God has chosen for me?). So, get ready to laugh. This is going to be a really fun series.
Every week we’re going to share some Biblical insights that are sure to relieve some of the tension you’ve felt in regards to this topic. So, if you’re marriage or dating relationship is a roller-coaster: Hold On! God is an ever-present help in times of trouble.
So, this February, come on out to any one of our three campuses. God’s Word is sure to lift your burdens!