Monday, September 04, 2006

1 Timothy 5:1-16: Relating to the Communities We Live In


Passage: 1 Timothy 5:1-16
Originally Preached: 03/09/06 - 630pm Service - St Stephen's Anglican, Belrose
Series: T Timothy: The Healthy Church

Description: Practical advice on how to relate to people in the church, your family and those most in need.

Comment: This was a hard passage to preach on. I spent ages, weeks, trying to work out what to say. It's mostly about widows and how to look after them and I'm thinking "How is that relevant to a congregation of teens and 20s?" It was 11pm on the night I had to had it written by and I had only written two paragraphs. I just couldn't do it. And then it clicked. Things were getting pretty tight and I didn't finish it that night, but I did managed to slot writing it in around other activities.

When I got to preaching on the night I was pretty nervous. I knew how hard the passage has been and I wasn't feeling very confident about it. The nervousness got to me a bit, if you listen I have even more "Ahh"s than usual, my voice goes a little cracked at times because I was feeling rather parched, and I keep stuffing up my words. But I guess that happens sometimes. You just have to soldier on.

This sermon was probably the one that I changed the most from it's manuscript through reading the congregation as I preached. I didn't feel real confident in how I'd dealt with the passage and how I applied it, so as I looked around I tried to gauge where people at, or how they were responding. And so as I went I tried to answer what I thought might be the issues. I'm not sure if I was reading people correctly but I did my best. And I think that's where knowing your congregation goes well because you can see the people and think "That person's having a hard time at home", "That person is probably thinking I haven't justified my point well enough" etc. But I'm not sure how effective it was, but I think it's probably a good skill to be working on.

When I was preaching the bit about looking after your parents and loving your family members I could see some of the parents in the room nodding their approval. I'm going to be their favourite person.

Someone told me afterwards they liked the illustration about me wanting to run away from home because for once my family hadn't been painted in a perfect light and we didn't look like the Brady Bunch.

When I finished this one I felt rather drained. But people were very encouraging. After the sermon the service leader got people to come up and share for the congregation what ways they were meeting the needs of the people around them. On guy got up and said he wrote letters to his grandma regularly. Another girl got up and shared about her voluntary work in the office of an organisation that helps young women with eating disorders and depression. Someone else shared about how they volunteered at a soup kitchen once and were convicted to go back. It went on for a while. It was great. It was a wonderfully positive and practical way to respond to the sermon. I felt so blessed. Probably blessed because I felt so apprehensive about the sermon and the passage. And then God showed that he even uses the obscure "uninspiring" parts of his Word to convict and changed. I am so happy to be serving my God and preaching his Word.


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