21 decembra, 2009

On God's Wisdom...

God's wisdom is also shown is our individual lives. "We know that God works all things together for good for those who love him, who are called according to his purpose" (Rom. 8:28, author's translation). Here Paul affirms that God does work wisely in all the things that come into our lives, and that through all these things he advances us toward the goal of conformity to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). IT SHOULD BE OUR GREAT CONFIDENCE AND A SOURCE OF PEACE DAY BY DAY TO KNOW THAT GOD CAUSES ALL THINGS TO MOVE US TOWARD THE ULTIMATE GOAL HE HAS FOR OUR LIVES...

Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology; p. 194

20 decembra, 2009

My preaching and how’d it go...

First of all I want to thank you all for your prayers. I know that there were many people praying for me. It was a big day for me and I really felt your support in prayers. Well, it’s been a week. But I still remember it pretty well. So let me share with you about it.

The thing was that the night before I had prom…so you get the point:) But preaching was my priority and so I left earlier (well, I was the first one that got out of there). I woke up at 6am and went to the church. I went there to pray. For myself and also for those that would hear the message. It was an interesting time when I was struggling with a question of what can older people receive from my preaching? You know, like 40 yrs old and people in their 50s… What about them? What can a teenager boy tell them? Then I realized…what was it that God said? It goes like this:

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

So it’s not MY job to make sure that it’s going to touch people’s lives. It’s HIS job and I can rest on that. The verse that God gave me to get ready and to fight just minutes before my preaching was a verse from Proverbs 1:33 that says:

But whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

So I just pleaded with God. I prayed: God, I just want to listen to You and tell them what I hear from You. Not more, not less. And I really want to listen to you and I know that when I do – I don’t have to be afraid, for it is You I listen to!

It was amazing to stand up there. You know what I remember? Feelings and thoughts? Nothing! I don’t know...but it was just that I was there and preaching. I didn’t care at all that it’s my first preaching, or that I’m being recorded, or that there are almost 50 people staring at me (including my parents, my friends from school and MANY other “special” people). It just all passed me by. I was so into preaching and the Word that I had NO idea and interest about those things. It was there just me serving the Lord. And what a great feeling to be used by God! I didn’t pay any attention to me being there – but wanted Christ to be there and be speaking through me.

So speaking for myself I enjoyed it and loved it. It just felt right to me that I was preaching and I felt that I was at the right place at the right moment. But feedback is really important and so I cared how useful it was to people. I was afraid that it was useful only to me…I’ve learnt a lot along the way but I failed at passing it down to the congregation – at least that‘s how I felt. But those people didn’t feel like that at all. Actually I’ve received lots of positive feedback. People were encouraged and blessed by the ministry and I was really thankful for that.

Later our pastor told me (when he was giving me feedback) that I can start thinking of another topic for my next sermon. So yes, I will preach again. But that’s not going to be any earlier then in the spring. What will I do till then? Just read the Proverbs:) I will listen to the LORD and I will dwell secure and without fear!


04 decembra, 2009

Some more info on my preaching

As you may know from my previous post I will preach next Sunday (Dec 13th). I just want to give you some update on how things are going.

As I expected (and was pretty sure) my youth would be an obstacle to some. But I must say that I am really blessed by people that are in my church because they are finding their way through and are trying to accept me. I’m not saying there are no problems – I’d be lying if I said that. But God’s love unites us and helps us to get through some stuff.

And I know it requires of the people in our church to humble themselves cause there’s going to be standing a 19 yrs old guy (who hasn’t even finished his high school) and will be preaching to them. Oh how I love them to receive me in humility. And on the other hand it’s a great temptation for me to think high of myself. You know, preaching that early is not so common. And so both of us, the congregation and I, have to be careful about our hearts, motivations and thoughts.

But as I get closer and closer to the day I will preach God humbles me in so many ways. For the past weeks He’s been tearing down every single thing I might rely upon. And there’s nothing left now. Not my wisdom, not my skills, there’s nothing I could hold to. But there is GOD that I can and surely WILL rely upon to! He’s tearing everything down and leaves Himself as the only One that is still there.

He makes me to see more and more of the greatness of the preaching of the Word. More and more of the importance and need of it. And He’s showing me my heart – who I really am – oh and how that prepares me for the ministry. I was afraid I might grow in pride but He’s protecting me – I’m being more and more humbled. And what makes me humble the most is the thought of what preaching really is. Makes me feel unworthy of this great ministry.

This is what Cotton Mather said about preaching. He lived in 17th century:
“The great design…of a Christian preacher [is] to restore the throne and dominion of God in the souls of men.”
John Piper, The Supremacy of God in Preaching

Please pray for me that God would keep my heart pure and that the hearts of the people in our church would be open to the message of God that I will try to communicate as biblically and clearly as I am able to. For I am not preaching myself, but Christ and Him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:23).