Two Saturday nights ago, I was relaxing in my living room, thinking about how nice it was going to be to take my wife to dinner in the Power and Light District, then to KC Symphony and to then to get in a nice jog before worship the next morning. Until my good friend, Russ Koelzer, who is the founding pastor of LifeStream Christian Church here in Gardner, called me to see if I could fill in for his sick self the next morning. Since Russ is such a good friend, I was glad to help him out. So I preceded to spend some time that afternoon and the next morning reworking a sermon I'd preached a couple years ago for Trinity Family during Epiphany. The sermon was from Matthew's account of the calling of Peter, Andrew, James and John, the main idea being that Jesus calls and uses the unchosen and unqualified to change the world. It was a powerful message then and I think it made some connections that Sunday, too. As I was about ready to walk in front of the congregation, I thought of how I'd preached that sermon and many others from that same spot in the Madison Elementary Commons. It was a bit of a nostalgic moment for me.
While the content was powerful (mostly because of the research I'd done and a story I told) my delivery wasn't too great, I went WAY too fast. My hyper-speed was likely due to three reasons: 1) I tried to cram too much info into one sermon, as I'd added stuff to the original message 2) I hadn't preached for awhile and was a bit rusty and 3) I was a bit nervous speaking to a group of people I didn't really know. But even though my delivery wasn't too smooth, it was great to be able to preach again.
The ability and calling to preach was one of the things that caused me to be hesitant about leaving traditional pastoral ministry. But after wrestling with and praying about it for long time, I felt God's assurance that he would give me the right opportunities to faithfully live out that particular part of the calling he'd placed on my life. Basically, I had to come to a place of trusting God with the whole preaching thing. And I guess that last Sunday is just one example of future opportunities to use and give the gift of preaching.