On preaching, inadequacies, and life in Christ

If you would have asked me as a child or even as a college student about some future life aspirations, preaching sermons would not have made the list.  

Especially because I am a woman, and I grew up a paradigm that would not allow for me to be upfront.

 

Yet here I am, having preached for the fourth time in as many months and wondering what crazy work God has done and is doing in my life.

 

Before and after speaking, I swim in a swirl of emotions from wonder to frustration to doubt to joy to regret to fulfillment. I love it and hate it at the same time. I never feel a clear call that I am the perfect person to speak that message- or a clear call that I am not.

 

But I know my main goals are to step in and to listen.

 

Sometimes that listening is difficult.

 

The preparation for my message this past Sunday was particularly exasperating. I felt completely under qualified. The subject was new life in Christ. Which is pretty much the subject of the New Testament.

 

What could I add to the words of Peter and Paul? And what could I say in 30 minutes that would even scratch the surface of this message of the Gospel?

 

As I read and sifted and processed, I often wondered if I should pass the baton to someone who would be better at this than me. But I didn’t. Somehow it seemed that feeling inadequate was actually the perfect place to begin.

 

If I authentically believe that what I do is through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the strength of Christ, for the glory of God, then it’s not about my adequacy. It is about my trust. I have to lean into God more than I count on my gifts.

 

So I did that the best I could.

 

Does that mean I walked away with a message I wouldn’t tweak if I had the chance, with points completely polished, and with a conclusion that would take your breath away? Not in the slightest. There are several things that went well, and many more that I would do differently if I were to give this talk again.

 

Yet I believe that God uses broken vessels to shine His light. I believe He can speak through me because of my gifts or in spite of my gifts, depending on the circumstance.

 

If you would like to listen to the sermon, you can find the audio here. It has my name below it, and is titled "Abundant Living." Using the text of John 10, I talked about how Jesus offers us a full life in which we are saved, we are free, and we are known.

 

The message kicked off with this video called “Something more.” Definitely worth a watch.

Something More from Moving Works on Vimeo.

How would you describe life in Christ?

*Dear readers, would you like me to continue to link to my messages when I speak? Is it interesting or helpful to you in some way? Or does it feel like some sort of awkward plug not fitting for this blog space? I would love to hear your honest feedback if you have any. Either as a comment below or an email. Thanks!

Our More Than Enough God

There were 21 emails from retailers in my inbox this morning. Shop here! Best sale of the year! This deal can’t be beat! You won’t regret this purchase! Get the hottest toys before they’re gone!

All these messages work their way into our subconscious. The day after pausing for gratitude we are pushed towards consuming. We switch our gaze from how much we have to how much we lack. The parasite of discontent eats away at our happiness faster than we realize.

An overwhelming sense of not enough begins to drive our decisions.

I am not fashionable enough. I need that shirt in my closet so I can look like that person I admire. I am not loved enough. I need to buy that gift for that person so they care about me more. I am not good enough. I need to host the perfect holiday with the perfect decorations so I can feel good about myself. I am not successful enough. I need to purchase lavish presents so those people think I have more money than I do.

This not enough thinking sometimes influences our connection with God, too.

His grace is not enough. I have to work my way into His favor. His love is not enough. I have to seek my worth in other places. His wisdom in not enough. I have to take my life into my own hands.

The Bible breaks into this thinking with a contrast. God is more than enough. Everything about Him is lavish and abundant and overflowing with goodness.

Psalm 35:5-9 provides beautiful poetry of this God who is so much more than we imagine.

This God. This God of abundance. This God of overwhelming goodness. This is the God who loves us. Who sent His Son for us. Who cares about the details of our lives. Who wants us to come to Him and rest.

I am grateful for our abundant God who is more than enough for my needs.

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.