Sunday, June 27, 2010

Flies on the wall and flies in the ointment:

As most of you have gathered we have been involved with the start up of a brand new church...Emmanuel Bible Church, QLD. And how immensely blessed we have been as we have participated in this new work...the fellowship has been sweet (how good to talk comfortably and excitedly about God and our service to Him each time we are together!), the prayer has been humbling and challenging as we stand in awe of who God is and pray for our own little church and the wider church. And what a blessing good preaching is!

I have a funny feeling sometimes that our church elders must be a flies on our wall each week and that they are preaching to us exactly as we have need to hear God challenge us as a family! (or perhaps one of the kids phones up and tells them what our problems have been each week! Giggle!)

Seriously though, the Lord does know our needs and the Lord is gracious to keep us challenged. The Lord is good to bless us with excellent teaching each week, and wow isn't consistent good preaching through the word of God a blessing as we allow the Holy Spirit to challenge us. We are going through Philippians at present and I am never left unchallenged! It is so good to 'be still' before God and to be well saturated by going in depth into this word together as a congregation, to sing rich words of praise together (ever noticed how good hymns can be a mini sermon?), to read his word often and pray savouring God's character. How blessed we are indeed!

This morning I woke up feeling as if I was giving, giving and giving and getting nothing back in return and said as much with many grumbles to Douglas... and then exhausted and discouraged we had preaching from the following passage. How could I be left unchallenged or unfed? How greatly revived I felt to be blessed in this way...

Philippians 2:12 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, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, 15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labour in vain. 17 Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

Sometimes parents see children as 'a fly in the ointment' in church, particularly when children are discouraged from sitting through a service so that their parents can 'concentrate on a sermon'!

Another aspect of good preaching I have enjoyed is to see my little children learn to sit through church again and get something out of good preaching. I never cease to be amazed at how much a little child can take in. We have come from a church which had many children's programs going on and my children had been used to an element of excitement and entertainment....sitting through a good sermon has none of that, they learn again to be satisfied with 'just' the word of God. I am not anti teaching children at their level, but it is beautiful to worship as a family and learn about God together again.

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