Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sermon-on-a-Stick -- So You Want to Be a Teacher and a Leader?

I don't doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within, whereas in reality He speaks also through Scripture, the Church, Christian friends, and books.

C. S. Lewis

(Below is Sunday night preaching, if you trust my note-taking...)

So You Want To Be a Teacher and a Leader?

James 3: 1-2

* The Book of James is sort of like a New Testament Proverbs ... He jumps from here to there but it's still practical Christian teaching that confronts casual Christianity. And it's from an early believer and friend of Jesus and a man who died for the faith and lived, after his conversion, practicing what he preached. He didn't always believe, even having grown up with Jesus; but once he did, he was solidly in the game, faults and all.

(Non-pastoral Teddy note: In August me and a couple of other guys read James each day of the month; it takes 15 minutes or so, once you've read it a few times. The first few days it was a little/lot intimidating. James is very straightforward. But as the readings went by and the message sunk/sank? in, there was a comfort in reading James. Very clear, our instructions. And very clear the dangers of disobedience, how we can harm ourselves but mainly the damage we can do to others when we dishonor God...My favorite passage: Chapter 4: 3-10; this translation is from Eugene Peterson's "The Message":

You're spoiled children, each wanting your own way.
You're cheating on God. If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and his way. And do you suppose God doesn't care? The proverb has it that "he's a fiercely jealous lover." And what he gives in love is far better than anything else you'll find. It's common knowledge that "God goes against the willful proud; God gives grace to the willing humble."
So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he'll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it's the only way you'll get on your feet.

From a more formal translation, the NIV, my favorite passage from my favorite passage is verses 7 and 8.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled sermon...

To Prosper the Kingdom:

* Find your gifts and use them, in the world and in your church

* If you are a teacher or in another area of visibility, be right on these things:

1. Your gifting. 1 Corinthians 12:27-30 ... know where you've been 'gifted' to serve specifically -- but remember, little is much if God is in it. And just because you don't have the 'gift' of singing or teaching or cooking or administrating today doesn't mean you won't have it tomorrow. And we can all do SOMEthing for God, for others and for the church all of the time; each Christian is commanded to do so. Do you pray for your church, for its leaders, for each other?

2. Your Example and Life: 1 Timothy 4:12 Set an example in speech, faith, love and purity.

3. Your Theology: 1 Timothy 4:16

4. Know you you are under, who you answer to...God, the church, your pastor (who is a servant-leader)

*** Before I can be over what I should be over, I have got to be under what I should be under

*** Know that with great power comes great responsibility, and God holds us accountable