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the pain of preaching

today I was fortunate to have the opportunity to preach at City Fellowship Church, which Beth and I are a part of.

preaching can be a pain-filled pleasure.

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at City Fellowship, we have been preaching through the mission of the church and the ministry distinctives that we want to mark our life together as a church.  it has been really wonderful and a delight to experience the Lord knitting us together as a church.

a few weeks ago Pastor Russ asked me to preach today on stewardship.

i will be honest, i was none to excited about the assignment because i knew that the three weeks between than and now would be really painful for me.

i was right – preparing to preach was absolutely agonizing at times.

i experienced overwhelming conviction for my materialism, my quickness to overlook God’s kind provision, and my lack of financial self-control.  at times, it was hard even to see evidences of grace in my life. there were days when i was tempted to despare at my own wickedness, my own selfishness.

by God’s grace, however, he did his work by his Spirit to remind me of his gracious working in my life.

left to my own devices, i will build a kingdom for my own name’s sake, but thanks be to God for his kindness in convicting me and reminding me (yet again) that his followers are to be about the work of his kingdom.

we are to join with his heavenly host in living in such a way that the world sees that we have a Lord who is the sovereign, gracious, and generous provider.  we should be a people who live in a way that is shockingly different from the world around us.

in these economic times, when our world is holding tightly to their money and possessions, our churches should be living generously, bearing evidence to our absolute faith in the God who has provided everything that we need in Christ.

today, 15 minutes before preaching, i had no idea how i would be able to faithfully herald the truth of God’s word.  i was patently aware of my inadequacy for the task.

the Lord gave me grace to preach today, to bring the Scriptures to bear on my heart and the heart of our church. for this i am profoundly thankful.

this, i believe, is the work of preaching – massively painful and massively rewarding.

(in the next few days i will be posting my sermon “Kingdom Stewardship” on the re:source page)

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