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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Preached the Evening Service Tonight...

I just wanted to publicly acknowledge God's faithfulness.

This evening I had the opportunity to preach in our church's evening service (I'll post a link to an downloadable recording as well as notes sometime next week). It was such a blessing to me to preach the Word again -- it's been almost two years since I'd last done so. At first I was nervous: not butterflies, but rather, the sense of rustiness and concern that I was out of practice in preparing and presenting an understandable sermon. But once I got started, about 10 minutes in, the Lord simply blessed all my preparation, self-consciousness abated, and God helped me to deliver a forceful and clear message from Philippians 1:20-21:
20according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death. 21For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
As usual, the saints were very gracious and attentive; and afterwards expressed their appreciation for the message.

What's most wonderful to me, though, is how much I have felt moved during my preparations by the subject of the message: living and dying in a Christ-exalting fashion by growing in treasuring and exulting in Christ Himself above all else. I've really felt renewed in a desire to deepen in my meditations on Christ's glories as a means to being Christ-exalting in such endeavors as parenting & being a husband. Not merely trying to produce obedient children or make my wife happy. But actually glorifying and exalting the Lord in those responsibilities; which is the highest priority from which all other activities come into their proper context.

In addition, as I preached, it was exciting to again feel the sense of preaching a message that the Lord had already been stirring my heart about -- not merely academically presenting an exposition of the text, as has happened on a few occasions. Thanks be to God for his grace and kindness! In the midst of this season of life, as a parent of young children, it's been an immense challenge to carve out the time necessary to prepare this kind of teaching. So, I would close with a public word of appreciation for my wonderful wife who not only helped me on several occasions to have study time, by watching the kids; but also exhorted me to study!