You should see my desk right now! I would be too embarrassed to post a picture of it! 🙂
I’m in the middle of writing my sermon for Sunday’s Worship Service at Mission of Hope. I stopped for a moment and almost chuckled outloud after surveying my desk! I have my laptop in the center, my NIV Study Bible to the left of my laptop, opened up to Matthew Chapter 22. I have Max Lucado’s book, A Love Worth Giving to the left of my NIV Bible, opened up to page 10. My NIV/The Message Parallel Bible is to the right of my laptop, opened up to 1 John 4:11-21. I have a few Mary Kay papers underneath my Bibles which are starting to distract me from my work. I think I’m going to have to move them…
This is probably the ninth sermon I have written, and I follow the same pattern every time. I pray a few weeks ahead of the time I need to give the sermon for what subject God wants me to talk about. A few thoughts usually come to me. The next few days I pay attention to what’s going on around me…if there’s anything that happens that I can use in the sermon, if something lines up with what I feel God is prompting me to talk about, if circumstances confirm my subject, etc. I jot notes down and continue to pray.
A few days prior to the day I’m to give the sermon, I sit down at my computer and I have thoughts going every direction, all over the place. I type them in on a Word document. I search scriptures for what would line up with these random thoughts. This is where I get the most frustrated…nothing is seeming to come together! Just a bunch of random thoughts with scripture that doesn’t match 100%…Ugh!
And then it happens…the “light bulb moment!” The scripture “appears” that matches what I feel God wants me to talk about and it begins to come together! That’s when I get VERY excited!
The next stage is where I’m in right now…proofing, extracting, paring down my words, adding details and more descriptions, etc. I sometimes begin to second guess myself at this stage…I’m doing that now too. “Is this going to make sense?” “Is this really what I should be talking about?” “Maybe I should scrap it and start over!?” Ok, I’ve never really scrapped a sermon before, but I question doing it each time!
I needed to take a break for a few moments, have a change of scenery, and grab another glass of water. (That’s also on my desk!) 🙂 I thought I’d take just a few moments to share my adventure in writing a sermon. I’m no preacher or pastor, but I enjoy sharing God’s Word with others! When I prepare, I always learn something from God, about Him and about myself. I learn another aspect of His awesomeness! 🙂
My sermon is based on 1 John 4:7-21 in The Message translation.
7-10 My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn’t know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can’t know him if you don’t love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God.
11-12 My dear, dear friends, if God loved us like this, we certainly ought to love each other. No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!
13-16 This is how we know we’re living steadily and deeply in him, and he in us: He’s given us life from his life, from his very own Spirit. Also, we’ve seen for ourselves and continue to state openly that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. Everyone who confesses that Jesus is God’s Son participates continuously in an intimate relationship with God. We know it so well, we’ve embraced it heart and soul, this love that comes from God.
17-18 God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us. This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s. There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.
19 We, though, are going to love—love and be loved. First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first.
20-21 If anyone boasts, “I love God,” and goes right on hating his brother or sister, thinking nothing of it, he is a liar. If he won’t love the person he can see, how can he love the God he can’t see? The command we have from Christ is blunt: Loving God includes loving people. You’ve got to love both.
Time for me to get back to work! I’ll keep you posted!