Encouraging times.

The change of winds have brought a positive climate to my work at the church. The interim (temporary) youth pastor that I am working under, Jon Kornelsen, is a really great guy! He is actually the intern that I succeeded, so he’s very well equipped AND very much in touch and in love with Campbell River youth. I wan’t to take a portion of my blog to thank the Lord for sending him! Jehovah-Jira, God is my provider, and Jon’s and to the youth of Campbell River! In the thick of chaos and seeming abandonment our Father in heaven drops the punchline of his plan. And all of his children are drop-jawed ooooing and ahhhing at his wisdom. God has brought us Jon Kornelsen and we (the leaders, the kids and myself) are blessed and actually  psyched to serve under and be led by him! O Lord, please keep him and refresh him daily in you grace and love. Bless him in his ministry here and help us to be a blessing to him. You are a good dad and you are faithful to your children!

Same deal as always, there’s no way my busy teacher and cohorts will have time to read all this. So I’ve put the school related section in the indented quotation as is this paragraph.

Along with the news about Jon, I do have some other… exciting… encouraging… a little mysterious news happening in my life>.

From the beginning of Sunday School I’ve had increasing opportunities to preach/teach. When I was a kid I thought preach/teach was all pastors did. Know I realize preaching/teaching only consumes a small amount of the energy a pastor is required to output. But even despite that, I have always had a very deep and kinda enrapturing fascination with those who teach/preach. John Piper, Tim Keller, Mark Driscoll, Matt Chandler, Don Carson, Paul Washer, Steve Timmis, and much The Gospel Coalition have kind of served as my teacher/preacher role models. And they themselves tell me about the influence Jones, Spurgen, Lewis, Edwards, etc. have had on them. All of these men have had a deeply moving influence on my life, through the way they use their God given ability to connect thoughts with emotions, words, illustrations and equations. I’ve found it very easy to sit and listen (usually while driving or exercising) for hours, hearing them somewhat regurgitate the conflicts, obsessions and convictions they hold inside, with the gracious power of the Holy Spirit turning upchuck into a breath of life.

October 2009 was a time of spiritual awakening for me. I often refer to it as when God dropped the gospel penny. At that time I had a fascination with preaching but because of my wretched past and poor communication skills, I reminded myself that God would rather use people who had invested more of their life in HIS honour for the honour of preaching his words. At the same time I find myself preaching, sometimes for over an hour, to myself. It would seriously frustrate me! I was usually praying, or meditating when it happened and when I would start preaching to myself, I would stop praying, stop meditating –– very frustrating! One day I was driving home and I caught myself doing it again. This time I was very frustrated. I pulled into my driveway and confronted God;

“Why am I always preaching to myself? I don’t even know where all this information is coming from? It’s always interrupting my prayer and meditation! Can you please make it stop? What could I possibly preach to myself that I don’t already know.” I could feel a sort of tension within because I knew I wanted to preach/teach but I had become very sure it would not happen. So I continued. “I’m a sinner! If you want me to preach–you’re going to have to do it! If you want me to teach, do you realize I, myself will be learning as the words come out of my mouth?”

I left my angst at the throne and went inside feeling a little relieved I had finally been honest with God about how I feel about preaching/teaching. I didn’t really think of the issue again for a long time. Since then I had talked about an internship with my Youth Pastor. He mentioned that there would be some preaching involved. I shrugged and let him know that I would do whatever he wanted me to do to serve the youth of Campbell River.

Why did I just unload my boring angst over preaching? Because, like I said above, from the beginning of Sunday School (September), I’ve had increasing opportunities to preach/teach, and from those opportunities I’ve observed some things.

  • I am even less skilled, gifted at preaching than I thought I would be.
  • 9am Sunday morning is a terrible time to preach/teach to teens.
  • Preaching/teaching to people (other than myself) requires more time management skills than I currently have.
  • No matter how you preach, some people will zone out, and some people hear the wrong message.
  • I have never, in my adult life received as much encouragement in an area of “gifting” or “possible future specialty” than I have for preaching/teaching in the last 5 weeks. Encouragement both of the subtle and upfront variety. Encouragement from friends, leaders, and even enemies!

    One thing was clear. That night in the car driving home, I said something right. I’m was convinvced it was right because I heard a preacher/teacher I highly respect say almost the exact same thing only a week or two later. When I open my mouth to talk about God and his ideas, when I’m covered by the blood of Christ and inspired, energized by the Holy Spirit–God is faithful and he helps me say what he wants the crowd to hear. Even if I say it wrong, he has the power to help them hear it right.

    But one thing is not clear. And I’m not sure if it even needs to be clear. My mind, that sort of likes to wander over to the realm of mysticism (not druids and warlocks, but the mysterious aspects of spirituality) is asking, “Is this sudden wave of encouragement a signpost from God saying: ‘What you said is impossible for you, is the very thing I plan to do with the bulk of your ministry’.

    Of course, in expressing this to my wife, she very wisely opened with “Don’t become prideful”. She knows me well. And reminded me of my own principal when it comes to futuristic prophesy type messages directed at me. That is; put it on the shelf, when it comes to being, you can take it off the shelf and say, ‘Ah-hah, God hinted at this a long time ago!’

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