My heart's desire is to preach the gospel simple and by the power of the Holy Spirit. My hope is that with each sermon persons will remember portions and be inspired to follow and serve Christ.
It is not my motif to construct sermons with impressive words or theological phrases.
I was a young pastor and teaching in a community college. Students came to my class one day in absolute awe of the professor whose class they had just left.
They were saying: "He is so brilliant!"
"What an intellectual!"
"He uses words that I have never heard!"
"He talks so intelligently that I do not even know what he is saying!"
Imagine students coming into your classroom talking about the super intelligence of another professor.
After listening I asked them a question: "If you do not know what he was saying how do you know that it was true? How do you even know that it was intelligent?"
There was a stunned look on their faces. There were arrested in thought.
Thomas Paine, a reputed atheist, in 1776 penned: "These are the times that try men's souls."
Charles Dickens (1859) is cited as saying "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times."
Ours too are difficult times. While humanity is living longer, enjoying more pleasures and celebrating stunning technological opportunities, we are in a vortex that is squeezing our mortal souls.
There were atheists and God-haters when I was a child. But they were relatively quiet. Non-verbal. Not much public chatter from them.
Times have changed. God-haters hate big. ACLU is suing anyone and everybody possible to make America Godless. In barely a generation Christians have become the hunted. We are even denied the right to defend our faith. If we speak up we are ridiculed, persecuted, denied jobs and vilified. Atheists are spending millions of dollars to fund lawsuits to strip God out of our society.
The Bible is no longer a revered book in much of our society. There are denominations that publicly reject the Bible as being true and authoritative.
What are we to do? How shall we approach the conflicts of our society? How do we reach the different generations with their particular and peculiar views and behaviors that are often in conflict with the gospel?
Allow me a story:
While in graduate school at the University of Virginia is was my pain to have a world-renowned scholar of Jewish ancestry. His World War II experiences had embittered him against God and people, making him a cynical agnostic.
On more than one occasion he used hard profanity to chastise me for views on God's love and justice. One day he explained to me the roots of his cruel past and why he struggled with the idea of a loving God. Then it seemed he drifted away out of his intellectual posture and said:
"But there is one memory I have than stays with me. When I was a professor at National Institute of Health there was an old black woman who scrubbed floors. Something about that woman and her Jesus I cannot shake."
Please know that in all our building and ministry plans our great passion is to leave a deep impression on you and others of the simple message of Jesus and His love for you!
May this ever be the central motif and modus operandiof our mission at Covenant Church!