Monday, December 5, 2011

Just Plant A Seed

This week I am taking the first steps of a new personal adventure to be a part of a freshly organized program for preaching pastors called a "Micah Group." Micah Groups are a Fuller Theological Seminary Program, birthed from PhD program there, designed to bring fellow pastors together in an academic and spiritual setting to talk and think constructively about the art of preaching. Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, formerly of Hollywood Presbyterian Church is a founding organizer of the Micah Group concept, as is Dr. Mark Labberton, former pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley. Both men are great preachers!

The group that co-leader Israel Gonzales and I have organized is made up of some of the best and most well known preachers on the entire Central Coast. For the past three months, we have scanned and prayed about the entire coast from Santa Maria, to San Luis Obispo, to Paso Robles to Cambria, and have assembled, it must be said - 12 simply great preachers! The Micah Group begins in the Spring, but some critical preliminary steps for organization are happening this week. So, please pray for us!

The main point of my blog post this morning is to say that I have been thinking recently about the wisdom of preaching. So, here's my latest wisest idea. Effective, fulfilling, helpful, God- inspired, and incredible preaching is simply a matter of planting a seed.

Just Plant a Seed.

This past Sunday, as I was standing up front at the beginning of worship, with my microphone and headset wires all poking out of me, like I was a modern day reincarnation of Edward Scissor Hands, I was feeling very distracted. All of the organizational notes for my sermon kept going through my head. The worries of my message were pounding down upon me; "rolling down like mighty waters." I was thinking about my introduction and how that led to my first point, and how that led into a joke, and how that led into the big idea of the morning. Actually, I was being bogged down by all of these details, and greatly vexed by them. The vexation I was feeling inside was also easy to read on my face. My assistant turned to me after the first worship song was sung and said; "Are you OK?" The truth is, I was OK, but I was also worried about my sermon. But then I heard this voice inside of my head (maybe it was from God) say;

Just Plant A Seed...

Every preacher's main job, every communicator's main job, every teacher's main job, every evangelist's main job, every person who wants to share the gospel with a friend's main job, is to simply plant a seed. What is a seed exactly? A seed is the essential DNA of life for a plant. The essential DNA in a seed has lain dormant inside the seed for an indefinite amount of time. Only one of these little life clusters needs to be planted. Only one. A great Sequoia tree can burgeon to life from just one seed. A seed is a tiny ball of inert energy, that, pinched between two fingers, and released into soil, begins to set in motion the symphonies of the universe, the building blocks of life.

Now, let me talk about what a preacher's job is not. A preacher's job is not to cultivate the soil. A preacher's job is not to fertilize the soil. Cultivation is a task that God has sets in motion, usually many years before the seed gets planted. A preacher's job is not to plow the ground or to make a hole in the ground for the seed. One might argue that creating an open space for growth is the job of the morning Scripture, the hymn, the music, the choir, the setting, the space, the stained glass windows, the worship band - but not the preacher. The message giver has only to...

Just Plant A Seed...

This past week I saw a very inspirational interview of former professional golfer named Dave Stockton, who was talking about his master techniques involved in helping players become better putters (forgive the change of imagery from farming to golfing, but stick with me). Dave said that most putters, most golfers, think about too many things when they get up to make a putt. They think about wind current and ground conditions and ball velocity and humidity and a thousand other things. Dave has learned that these other thoughts are very destructive for golfers. "Don't think about bad conditions, don't think about the crowds, don't take advice from others, don't worry about how the ball will role. Just put the ball in the hole." Just do one thing...

Just Plant A Seed...

All For Now,

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