staying awake (an inescapable love)

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So how can they call on someone they don’t have faith in? And how can they have faith in someone they haven’t heard of? And how can they hear without a preacher? – Romans 10:14

True story: This time four years ago, Rebekah was in the beginning phases of her conversation with the pastor search team at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. It’s a long process, involving multiple phone conversations, Skype conferences, listening to sermons, clandestine visits to our previous church, on site meetings here in Wake Forest, and more.

Somewhere during one of the interviews, someone asked Rebekah the classic, “Please share with us the method you use for sermon preparation.” (Typically this question is looking for a lengthy, detailed answer, including references to Greek and Hebrew studies, methodology, process, resources, hours invested in writing; establishing that the pastor actually writes their own material, if the prep is topical rather than exegetical, and is she part of a ministers’ study group… those kind of things.)

All Rebekah said, however, was: “I try to stay awake.”

fullscreen-capture-252017-30107-pmIn other words, you can’t preach in a vacuum. You can’t offer God’s word in any context other than the one where we all live. Staying awake means having a cogent grasp of what is going on in the world. Staying awake means you have to know your people. More than that, it means vulnerability, loving people, being aware of what’s going on in their hearts and minds, and preaching out of a conscious, alert, vibrant, fully engaged spirit.

Staying awake also means cultivating an active, motivated, receptive relationship with God. When a preacher stays awake, God speaks truth and encouragement into the hearts of God’s people.

Faithfulness – an inescapable love:

This series on The Fruit of the Spirit has been a study in staying awake. Yesterday’s message on faithfulness addressed our need to understand God’s unshakable commitment as a covenant-keeping God. That’s good news in today’s uncertain world. God knows us, God knows us completely, and God loves us anyway.

This is an inescapable love. Even when we reject God; even when we say we have no interest because religion has disappointed us; even when we think we have placed ourselves outside the reach of grace; God’s love infiltrates regardless, and the Creator counts us as one of his own.

This is an inescapable love. Even when we reject God; even when we say we have no interest because religion has disappointed us; even when we think we have placed ourselves outside the reach of grace; God’s love infiltrates regardless, and the Creator counts us as one of his own.

The point of church is to be a community where we enjoy our salvation, where we love God with creativity and with joy, where we come to be inspired and encouraged, where we learn, where we serve, where we lift one another up, where we actively participate in the work God is up to, where we live as a community of light and life, and where we stand as a beacon of hope.

  • Where we enjoy our salvation,
  • Where we love God with creativity and with joy,
  • Where we come to be inspired and encouraged,
  • Where we learn,
  • Where we serve,
  • Where we lift one another up,
  • Where we actively participate in the work God is up to,
  • Where we live as a community of light and life,
  • Where we stand as a beacon of hope.

Take a moment to watch Rebekah’s message on faithfulness. It’s an exceptional sermon, and a clear invitation to embrace God’s inescapable love. ( click here for the message)

Then, I’m including this series of head shots from yesterday (look, no neck brace!). The hands, and all the different expressions, grouped in sequence, make for a fun slide progression.

Enjoy – DEREK

 

3 thoughts on “staying awake (an inescapable love)

  1. Pingback: disue
  2. Derek,

    Great post as usual; good message and good to see Rebekah in the pulpit without the neck brace. Am really glad that I can finally read them. Hope that you all are doing well and Rebekah is on the road to complete recovery.

    Thanks my friend,

    Alan

    Liked by 1 person

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