Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Sermon Addendum for August 27 2023


So, following up on the sermon from Sunday, a few notes:

First, on the practice of preaching: I spent longer on the intro story than is normal for me. That's just a different approach for me. It worked alright, though I know it threw a bit of a curve to people used to my normal rhythm. And that you sat that, waiting for us to get to the text. Also...it's always been annoying to me when preachers take too long to get to the text. And now I see why some preachers do it :)

Second, again on the practice of preaching: it's generally better to be sure the technology works if you're going to use it. There are a couple of points in here where I thought the screen was going to have information...and then it didn't. Don't rely on digitals that are not reliable. Even if you were the guy who installed them and got them working in the first place!

Third, as we worked through Hebrews 10, there's a reference to the people accepting the confiscation of their goods with joy. And then we had a moment of awkwardness after I raised the question of how we would respond if news came down that Christian people's personal property was going to be confiscated...nothing like awkward silence and murmuring in the midst of a sermon. 

That does need some development, though, about the example of people in Scripture. We should remember that the text often records the final status of affairs, not the process it took to get there. For example, in this case, it probably was not instant. It's hard to react to anything challenging with joy at the moment. It likely took time.

Second, we need to think about the reality that people referenced in Scripture are all normal people. The recipients of Hebrews? Normal people, who had rights and expectations and worked hard for their normal life, just like we do these days. They didn't get up one day and think, "Sure, this will be easy." 

We need to remember that it was hard for them, and it will be hard for us.

The solution is the same as it was 2,000 years ago: faith in Christ and support from one another. That is one place that we have to work on ourselves: the support for one another. We usually want to solve the problem before we help the person--"Okay, we need to figure out why this happened..." before we "let's get you a nap, a snack, and some time to process."

We can do both. We need to do both.

Oh---and realize: if persecution like property seizures or mass arrests hit Christians in America, it's no different than what our brothers and sisters in Christ have experience around the world for 2000 years. We have had a blessed three centuries of peace in this nation. We haven't used it like we should--we've become wealthy and comfortable rather than evangelistic and fruit-filled with things like love, joy, peace, and patience (Galatians 5:22-23). We had better use our blessings for what God intended them for, lest we spend our time and energy chasing blessing instead of chasing faithfulness.

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