I’m continuing to share some reflections from our sabbatical time. I appreciate the chance to be away, and I want to tell you some ways we used the time and the things I learned. Disclaimer: some thoughts may be more serious than others
One of the joys of sabbatical was visiting other churches. I rarely get to sit with my family in worship, and I find it easier to worship when I’m not leading parts of the service, so I was excited to have so many weeks in a row to connect with God by worshiping from a different perspective.
We visited a range of churches: in and out of town; traditional and contemporary; small and large. Each visit provided the opportunity for good discussion about what we experienced and how it compares to Westminster. Most of our conversations eventually turned toward the sermon.
I suppose I was surprised by the range of preaching. One church showed movie clips and a video of people talking about the clips from a Christian perspective. A preacher read a faithful but dry manuscript to us at another church- an occasion for me, sitting next to Matthew, to remember how wiggly 8 year olds can be in church! At a third church, our favorite, the preacher was the least polished one we heard all summer, but he told us more about Jesus than anyone else. It all got me thinking about my convictions with preaching and the decisions I make as I prepare each week.
You’ve probably noticed I’m more of a teacher than a preacher I feel called to teach the Scriptures in a way that gives us insight into the person and work of Jesus Christ. I’m convinced if we are faithful in our study of the Scriptures, we will meet Jesus, understand who he is and why he has come, our lives will be transformed by the meeting, and we’ll be free to live for him. It is a similar principle that governed the Reformers of old- people like Martin Luther who was convinced if the Bible got into the hands (and hearts and minds) of the people, God would do the rest. It is a very basic idea that changed the world!
So, any given Sunday at Westminster, we’ll open the Word, and I’ll do my dead level best to share with you the timeless truths we find. God speaks to us in the Word, and he is honored and worshiped when we listen, understand, and obey.
Yours in Christ,
PS: next week, I’ll share a second round of reflections about preaching at Westminster.