Reprise/Revised: A Prayer Before Preaching

I have never done this before but I am re-posting a post. The following is a prayer I wrote on September 20, 2015. It is a post that I can tell people still visit, so I decided to read it again. And you know something, I needed this prayer.

You see, in the span of two weeks I get to preach 5 sermons: Midweek Lenten worship, funeral, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday and Easter. Five very different settings but with one very important purpose: The Gospel. And as a pastor and preacher, this is a task I take very seriously (as all preachers should). I don’t want to take any moment for granted. For to handle the Word of God flippantly is a dangerous thing. A messenger would never mess with a king’s message and so why would anyone take a lackadaisical approach to the Word of God; a message from our King. Too many pastors/preachers have tinkered with the King’s message and have deceived many. What a horrible thing to do. May I be found faithful with the King’s message.

And so, I pray this prayer — again — as I have four more sermons in this stretch of preaching. What an amazing opportunity to deliver my King’s message. Oh God, my King, hear my prayer…

To approach Your holy Word faithfully,
oh God and King,
is to do so with fear and trembling;
not only because it is Your holy Word,
but it convicts us of sin
through the awesome power of the Holy Spirit.
Your Word kills and gives life through Jesus Christ.
It convicts and redeems.
It’s alive.
It’s does something.

And so may I approach Your Word with great expectation;
leaning on Your promises
and joyfully basking in Your faithfulness.
May I toss off all that would hinder my hearing of Your Word;
fixing my eyes on You.
May I receive this Word with all joy,

handle it with care,
and proclaim Your glory.
May I embrace its transformative power
that gives courage in a fear-filled world.

Oh God and King
All glory, honor, worship and praise
be onto You,
through Christ Jesus my Lord,
Amen.

Mother Hen ~ A Sermon Teaser

The following is the opening paragraph for the sermon that God has placed on my heart…

The love of Jesus for sinners is communicated and shown in a number of ways throughout scripture. His commitment to the mission is put on display throughout scripture. (i.e. Jesus’ rebuke of Peter, his face set like flint). And his power has been made known over and over again. From the beginning, God’s plan has been in effect; a plan to redeem His fallen creation. (“He will crush your head, but you will bruise his heal”). God proclaimed the New Covenant through the prophet Jeremiah. God promised to raise up His chosen one; the Messiah – and He followed through. Scripture is replete with God’s promises. God has proven Himself faithful thus there is no reason to doubt that God will come through again. With all of this being said, nothing and no one can get in the way of God’s plan. Why? Well, God is God and His love will NOT be denied. Luke 13 displays this tenacious love through some mother hen feistiness in Jesus…

I can hardly wait to preach this sermon. To God be the glory.

The Pastor -|—

Create in Me

It’s Ash Wednesday this week; the beginning of Lent. The text that I will preaching on is Psalm 51. What follows is some reflections from my heart…

Create in me a clean heart,O God,
and renew a right spirit in me.

for You are my Father and my Lord,
thus I will always live with much glee.
I am broken and fallen,
but You are mighty in love.
I am sinful and unclean,
but You are mighty in mercy.
I am lost without You,
but I shall never fear the pit.
For Jesus my Savior; he saves me,
and so I will offer this one plea…
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and I will praise You on bended knee.

The Pastor -|—

Content in You

[Communion liturgy based on my sermon text from Philippians 4:10-20; the “secret” of being content.]

It is indeed right and salutary
that we should at all times and in all places
give thanks and praise to you,
oh God,
the author of our peace.
For through Jesus Christ you have given us hope
so that we could live lives that bring You glory.
You provide for all our needs.
You strengthen us to do the work of the church.
You surround us with Your abundant love.
You shower us with amazing grace.
You give us Your Holy Spirit.
Through faith in Jesus Christ we are content in You
as we rest in Your mighty arms.
And so with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven
we join in singing Your unending praise…

The Pastor -|—

Be Revealed To Us

Holy God,
Mighty in power,
Great in mercy,
Awesome in love;
as You heard the cry of Your people in captivity in Egypt
and sent Moses to lead them to freedom,
You heard the groaning of Your creation
and sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to give us freedom.
He was born King and quickly upset the powers that be.
Jesus rose to prominence only to be crucified
and then raised to complete Your plan of redemption.
Therefore,
as the magi traveled far to worship this King,
may we too humble ourselves before our King.
May our pride be dismantled,
and our kingdoms be destroyed,
that we may live forever in the Kingdom You have established.
Send Your Spirit that we may see Jesus revealed again and again
as Savior and Lord of our lives;
that we too may return;
walking by the Way of the magi;
praising You,
through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Working Out

I am preaching through Paul’s letter to the Philippians. The following prayer is what I am using on Sunday, Nov 4, before I preach on Philippians 2:12-13, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”

Holy God,
Martin Luther is quoted as saying,
The Bible is alive, it speaks to me;
it has legs, it runs after me;
it has hands, it lays hold of me.
Oh God,
run and catch us.
Lay hold of and keep us.
Open our eyes and ears
that we may see and hear Your Word of truth;
for Your Word is a living word.
It’s active and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Pierce our hearts and make us alive in Jesus.
Trim away the fat and make us lean.
May Your Word be all that is left in us,
so much so,
that You shine forth
and are glorified in and through our lives.
May we be so alive with Your Spirit
that we run after you;
working out our salvation with fear and trembling.
To you be the glory, now and forever,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

This Much

The magnitude of what Jesus did for us can not be overstated.
The lengths that Jesus went to can not be measured.
The depths of his love can not be gauged.
The wideness of his grace can not be seen,

The closest we get is this: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God (think about that for a moment, the form – of – God), did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT

emptied himself,
by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient
to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5–11 ESV]

Let that sink in…

Goosebumps yet? No? Then go back and read it again and this time pay attention.
or
Goosebumps yet? Yes? Then go back and read it again and just abide in this Word.

This is how much Jesus loves you. Any questions?

The Pastor -|—