BY STEVE DUNN
Sunday morning early. A light dusting of snow has fallen on Dover, but nothing that should impair people going to worship this morning except maybe for those who are looking for an excuse not to go. In about 3 ¾ hours I will be heading up the road to Mechanicsburg to bring them the morning message and to remind them that they serve a God who calls upon them to embody His love. Since last August Dianne and I have been on a Journey we have called our “Abraham and Sarah Excellent Adventure” and I have been preaching at various churches great and small awaiting our next assignment from the Lord. The sermon this morning is one I have preached several times in this Journey period. I hope I have planted seeds of this basic truth in a variety of settings.
By calling–and now profession and persuasion–I have been a pastor and a preacher. And your chief function is to be a primary spokesperson for God. It is no small task–and not for the lazy or the prideful, although both types have practiced my profession.
That “speaking for God” thing is one that I take most seriously–preparing through study, prayer, sometimes over a long period of time for a single message. There have been times when I have not done a good job and times when people simply did or would not hear what I was saying to them. Then there are times when people would comment, “Were you listening at my house this week?” or “I need that,” or “I wish you hadn’t said that.”
That’s why my prayer EVERY TIME I step into a pulpit or stand before people with a message, I speak this prayer, “Lord, may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be YOUR WORDS FROM YOUR HEART to these people who are Your beloved.”
T.D. Jakes once said, ” I fully intend to preach the word of God to you until there’s a difference between how you walk out of here and how you walked in here..”
Jakes was speaking to the ambition of a faithful pastor who believes that transformation not information is the purpose of our preaching. This is one more reason why I have continued to preach these many years. It is because I believe that when the Word of God is spoken by men and women who live that Word and see themselves as vessels to share that Word–lives are transformed.
In a few weeks I begin a year as an Intentional Interim Pastor for a church in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. It is the framework in which God has now called me to operate–in these shorter term and more focused pastorates. It is a place where preaching becomes even more important. So in a weeks I will once again stand before a people gathered in the name of Christ, and I will pray, “May the words of my mouth ….”