Minister's Study

Ministering, writing, and wrestling in a land flowing with sweet tea and deep-fried food

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hey, something other than buses!

Well, there's more to say about the bus situation here. But if I have one more consecutive bus post, I think I'm going to have rename this the "Bus Blues Blog" or something similarly boring, alliterated, and difficult to repeat rapidly. So I'll leave the bus talk for another post.

Yesterday, I went to a pastor's fellowship (the Eastern North Carolina Fundamental something-or-other, or some such). My brother Paul and sister Laura drove down Sunday afternoon to go along. They did special music for us on Sunday evening. I told the congregation it's always nice when they visit, even if they do show me up whenever they get up to sing or sit down to play the piano.

My wife and daughter also got to go to the fellowship with us. The whole thing was a blessing. They even let me preach (I know -- brave people in that fellowship!) for the first time. You never know until you're there whether you're going to preach or not -- the moderator calls people up as he feels led. And for probably the first time in my life, I left my outline in the front of my Bible and preached something completely different.

Fortunately, the Lord directed me to a subject I've preached on before, but it still felt very strange. Typically, I like to be very prepared, with extremely detailed notes when I speak. I usually don't stand there and read from them the whole time, but I like to think through the whole message on a thought-by-thought, word-by-word basis -- so I might as well write it down as I think through it. Then I've got the notes if I draw a blank or have a particularly careful way I want to word something. If I speak unprepared, I often feel like I'm cheating the listeners.

But this time, the Lord led me pretty clearly to lay aside that very pretty outline on that very practical subject and preach on what I called the forgotten command in Fundamentalism -- "Rejoice in the Lord always." Now, I take seriously that verse in Proverbs that warns, "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin," so I didn't preach long ( I hardly ever do.) But the message was well-received.

The rest of the preaching was good. The rest of my sibs' stay was good. God is good. See, I'm rejoicing already!


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