Tuesday, November 12, 2013

To Preach or Not to Preach?

So, I haven’t updated my blog in a while. I’ll update you in general briefly. Dated a girl (goodbye New Year’s resolution) for four weeks beginning on September 25th. I’ve lived in Bolivar, Missouri at Southwest Baptist University since August 14th. It’s been lots of fun, other than now feeling alone again and trying to get back to the point where I can honestly say, “I’m single, and it’s totally cool.” It’s so hard to be content!!!
Since being out here I’ve preached five times. In front of people. I specify that because I’ve prepared sermons since the beginning of 2012 that I’ve preached to my computer. I’ve preached three different sermons over the course of the last month. First three times were Psalm 51; before the third, I preached a message on a Saturday on 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2; finally I preached on Isaiah 44:6-8.
My sermon propositions (or main points/applications) were the following. In Psalm 51, King David teaches us to come to God in a bold, yet humble, and sure state of repentance when we sin, so that we can be bold in our worship, and a light to the world. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-6:2 Paul teaches us to so love the lost that we would go and gospel them so that they can believe and be saved. In Isaiah 44:6-8, Isaiah presents us with a glorious portrait of God’s sovereignty so that we can live our lives as bold witnesses for Him—the only God.
Now that I’ve preached every week for a month the question has again come to mind: Is this what I’m supposed to do? Or to parallel a Shakespeare character, “To preach, or not to preach, that is the question?”. I would say, “Absolutely!” I don’t know what else to do. D. Martyn Lloyd Jones put it well in his classic work Preaching and Preachers.
[T]here should also be a sense of constraint…It means that you have the feeling that you can do nothing else…I would say that the only man who is called to preach is the man who cannot do anything else, in the sense that he is not satisfied with anything else. This call to preach is so put upon him, and such pressure comes to bear upon him that he says, ‘I can do nothing else, I must preach’ (Lloyd-Jones, 118).
I’ve tried to find something else to do for a living as well, and every time I’m drawn right back to pastoring. “This is something that happens to you; it is God dealing with you, and God acting upon you by His Spirit; it is something you become aware of rather than what you do. It is thrust upon you, it is presented to you and almost forced upon you constantly in this way” (Lloyd-Jones, 117). It’s a fire burning in my bones. Like Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 20:9, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,’ Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” As much as it is demanding, time consuming, and intimidating to speak for God, I can’t think of anything else to do with my life.
I was saved in the summer of 2010 and all I’ve been able to think about is preaching since April of 2011. My call came in February of 2011 when I heard Shai Linne’s song “Expository Preaching” off the album, The Church: Called and Collected. In it he raps, “We got enough rappers, we need more pastors.” I tried to ignore it for a couple months, but finally I got to the point where I knew I should stop trying to fight it. And here I am, preaching every week (even twice in one of them) for a month.
However, while I totally know that I’m meant to preach, I’m very happy to not be doing it for a while. I feel like I’m starving while feeding others. I need to hear a sermon myself on Sundays. The way my church back home does it is awesome. Two preaching pastors, and a third one who fills in occasionally, preach two Sundays a month—two in a row—and split the four fifth weekends evenly. This way they get a two week break between preaching and receive rest. It’s exhausting to preach four Sundays in a row. When I have a church I’m going to stick with this pattern because I need weeks off. Preaching is a serious calling, and I need rest from it.

To preach or not to preach, that is the question; my answer is, “I must!”