There is some level of difficulty in coming to terms with the fact that I haven’t blogged since January of this year. Notwithstanding, my time has been well-spent, amid the pressing demands of life, family and ministry. I officially moved to Dallas/Fort Worth on September the 1st; preaching my first sermon as the Pastor of Shiloh MBC/Ft. Worth on September the 25th. Little did I know, when arriving, the psychological, emotional and physical challenge my quick move would ensue upon me as a husband, father and pastor. While trying to make adjustments and get settled…life and ministry never stopped. Because I burned no bridges during my transition, and the love was strong with relationships we had left in Houston and a beloved congregation in Victoria, I found myself emotionally drained (and even confused) at times. And then, after the sixth (6) month, around March or shortly thereafter…I felt myself and things getting back to normal. Or should I say…my “New normal”! For about a month now, I am developing a system that works for me; and have set boundaries and priories for me to get things done in my new role as the Pastoral Leader of our great church. In so doing, I have found the time I need for personal development, spiritual formation, daily physical exercise and, most importantly, private devotion. I thank the Lord for my loving wife and our boys who have never complained about the move’ and who have shown support for this calling upon OUR lives. I’m so excited and elated to see what the Lord will do in this new work. Admittedly…because I have seen the vision of what the Lord is leading us to…it is quite overwhelming to see HOW He will bring the vision to pass. But I know the the Lord works best in people who realize they cannot do it without Him.
Last week, I JUMPED into the Book of Revelation, and finally developed the spiritual guts to do an exposition through Revelations 2 – 3, on the 7 Churches. Revelation has always been an intimidating book to me, as it is to most preachers. It is so full of imagery, prophecy, correction, confrontation, sporadic shifts and the like. In 23 years of preaching (preaching about 960 times) , I am pretty sure I’ve never preached from the book of Revelation, even once. Interestingly, it is the one book in scripture that the Lord promises to bless those who read it. So here we are.
Here is an outline of last week’s sermon…
When the Thrill is Gone
I. COMMENDATION OF THINGS DONE WELL
a. It was a devoted church (Verse2)
”I know your works.”
b. It is a disciplined church ”could not bear those who were evil.” (verse 2)
c. It is a discerning church
‘you have tested those who say they are apostles, and are not, and have found them liars…” (verse 2)
d. It is a determined church (verse 3)
II. CRITICISM OF WHAT’S GONE WRONG
III. COUNSEL ON HOW TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT
Here is today’s sermon outline…
When Life Gets Rough
I. GOD IS BIGGER THAN OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
- He is the Lasting One
- He is the Living One
II. GOD KNOWS WHERE WE ARE
- He Knows Our Tribulation
- He Knows our Poverty
- He Knows the Slander (Verse 9)
III. GOD MAKES A PROMISE TO US IN OUR SUFFERING
1. Expect It
2. Don’t be scared
- THE REASON FOR SUFFERING
- THE RESTRAINT OF SUFFERING
- THE REWARD OF SUFFERING
Ultimately, I believe God was pleased. The mood of both churches is quite different. One deals with a loss of love while the other affirms a promise of suffering and the truth of victory. While it is heavy stuff, I’m convinced that not only is expositional preaching the best preaching method of stretching a church; it is God’s method for stretching the preacher. It is my hope to continue, and conclude this series by the first of the summer. I am spending this first year getting to know the people of Shiloh, familiarize myself with the community, and gradually present my style and form of leadership, administration and things in between. Truly grateful for gradual, rather than impulsive, growth. My brother, Kevin, has said ‘if it grows fast, it blows fast!’ I concur! So I am humbled by the work God has assigned to my hands; and I am praying now on His leading and directing us to build that TEAM that will surround the vision He has given to execute His plan for Shiloh. Please keep us in your prayers. I am fully aware that this is no small feat. God is able!
How was your Sunday? What was preacher? I pray you have a great week. Blessings!