congregational life

Wait… Someone Listens?!

I got a huge compliment yesterday, and it’s hard for me to really grasp it.

Yesterday we began a new sermon series: Lies we tell ourselves about church. This is especially important here for us; now that we know I’m sticking around for a while, the congregation has two inclinations: Either relax, because the pastor will handle it, or hurry up and get busy so that we can take advantage of the blessing of the pastor. I’m very thankful that the congregation is leaning toward the latter. Yet, I’ve already seen (and fallen for) a certain lie that says, “We need to get busy!”

You see, we don’t need to “get busy.” We need to get into the Word and apply it to our situation. Throughout the sermon I made that point, applying it both to our congregational life, pointing out where we — and I, personally — had failed at this in recent memory. I also applied it to individual lives, using the example of deciding whether or not to move.

Now, it’s true that I expect the congregation to listen. But when they give evidence of not only listening, but then applying God’s truth in the sermon to their lives — wow!

We’re hosting a block party in a little over a month. The man in charge of the festivities came up after the service to make some announcements (pretty normal for us) and stood up and said, “We’re going to have to put this on hold. I realized I’ve been so busy getting the block party ready, I never asked what God says about something like this. I’m going to take some time in the Bible and get back to you all next week.”

Wow!

Now, I have every confidence that we’re still going to host a block party. I also have every confidence that this study will sharpen our focus. Why are we having a block party? What’s the goal? How can we use this to give glory to God?

And even more: to have a sermon have such an immediate effect… well, it’s not what I expected, and I’m humbled God would use me in such a strong way! It is so encouraging to have someone listen and immediately display a change because of that. And even more encouraging to see this person be driven to the Bible for their answers, and not necessarily to me. My desire is not to connect people to me, after all, but to God’s Word!

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