Although I have not admitted this to many, I could take or leave sermons. The places of greatest connection for me in worship are usually songs, artistic expressions and communion. I have nothing in particular against the sermon but my desire would be for a teaching ministry that was more intertwined with the entire experience of worship and not an actual sermon. Having said that, I am quite a Mike Cope fan and could listen to him for hours. In fact, leaving Abilene was so hard for me, simply because I did not want to leave Highland. I was also blessed by so much of Art McNeese's teaching while we lived in Dallas and feel very blessed to hear Dan Bouchelle each week.
Today however, I was very moved. Whenever I try to break down what made up a service that was so moving, I am unable to do that. That is because I think so much of it depends on where your heart is at the time and what the Spirit is doing in you. Today, I loved the honesty I heard from Dan (not that he lies other weeks :-)). The sermon today served as a mirror for me. The worship time was simple with nothing overly creative, but it touched me deeply. My sense is that God had been invited to participate through every song and prayer and He did. I was moved as I reflected on our church and where we have been over the last 5 years. I was moved as I realized that the path we have chosen (staying down town, new vision and mission etc) is not the one to rapid growth or external success. I was moved when I realized that God has worked and is working and in just a few years I have been witness to life changes in people and a church who has tried to change its image and reputation. Obviously as a part of the ministry team here, I share my husband's frustrations about "the life and work of ministry" and it is easy for me to get aggravated at times. But today I was struck by what a huge task this has been to turn this "country club church" ship to something more on the course of "outpost for the Kingdom."
I confess that sometimes it is easier for me to be irritated by the pettiness of people than to understand them. I confess to also being "covetous" of how other churches do things and have longed to be like them. I confess to having feelings of pride that make me want to be at a church that is more forward thinking, more progressive etc. I try to teach my children that "stuff" does not make a person great. Yet, I tend to rely on "stuff" to enhance my church experience instead of relying on God to transform me. Today I am convicted that God has placed me here in this place to work, live and love along side people who are flawed just like me. My focus today is to see God working here in this place at this time with me as a part of the plan and not the problem. Somedays this is easier for me to embrace and believe, and other times it is rhetoric. Today I can say this with a convicted heart.