Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Jonah - The God who Chases

HBC Youth Jonah.mp3

Passage: Jonah
Originally Preached: 29/05/09 - Switch Youth Service - Hornsby Baptist Church
Series: Special Event

Description: God chases us even when we're sinful; especially when we're sinful.

Comment: This was my first preach at my new church, so I was a bit nervous. Plus I was battling with the need to impress people. You want to make a good impression on your first preach somewhere new, especially when it's your home church because you care what these people think.

But it's not like I've yet found a way to ever divorce myself from wanting to get approval from the people who hear me preach. God'll have to keep working on that one.

This was also the first long (over 15 minute) talk that I've done entirely without notes. I enjoyed the chance to have continuous connection with the congregation. I think it allowed me to be more natural in the delivery. However I did find that I stumbled over words a lot more and nothing came out as elegantly as what I had written in the manuscript. That wasn't a huge problem but it annoys me. And I found I said a lot more "like" and "you know".

I did also make the mistake of mentioning Jesus' death while forgetting to mention his resurrection. This is a rather significant part of the Gospel and I left it out. Shows my conservative evangelical roots.

I did an illustration at the end that I spent ages tossing up whether to do. I also tossed up whether to stick this talk on the podcast because of it. I told the story of when I told a girl I liked her.

I was wondering whether to do it because it involves God giving me instructions to do something rather morally dubious in my view. Namely telling a girl who had a boyfriend that I liked her. And while I did a lot of work to get confirmation and I'm sure God wanted me to do it, it's still not an action I feel entirely comfortable about. Telling the girl I liked her was a catalyst that kicked of a series of events that dramatically changed the lives of many people, to the point where there are people who exist today as a result of that chain of events. And while I don't want to claim that I was the main force for change in that drama, I really only had a bit part, I do think God wanted to use me to being making some radical changes.

Still I would never condone telling a girl you liked her if she had a boyfriend. While boyfriend/girlfriend relationships aren't unbreakably sacred, it's pretty selfish to go around telling other people how you feel disregarding the commitment two people have made to each other.

I did it because God told me to. But I still have to own my actions. So I have a hard time reconciling my obedience with my morals.

So doing the illustration made me uncomfortable because I didn't want anyone to think I was condoning telling a girl you liked her when she was taken. I made that clear, but I hope the illustration didn't muddy things up.

I also debated doing it and putting it in the web because it doesn't reflect too well on the other guy. While I never say who he was, if he listens he'll hear me say he was a bit of a jerk. I was worried that he might come and listen to the sermon and get upset that I publicly called him a jerk.

And he certainly would have a right. I would have preferred I said he was acting like a jerk. Because I don't think he is a jerk. But I'm happy to own the judgement that his behaviour at the time wasn't exceptional. I'm pretty sure he'd agree with me.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure he won't ever hear the talk. But if he does, I hope he doesn't think I hate him. I don't.

The last thing I should clear up about the illustration is that I said that I didn't go out with the girl. I should have said I didn't get the girl. We did go out, but not for long and I certainly didn't feel at the time that we really got the chance to work at the whole relationship thing.

Wow, that was a lot of disclaiming for one illustration. I think this is part of the issue of preaching without notes where you can have much more carefully worded illustrations and you don't have to do as much mopping up. Lucky I have a blog with perhaps two readers who I can clear things up with.

All up, I'm happy enough with the talk. I feel like I could have done a better job getting a cohesive over-riding thought going. And it may be too long. As usual I pray that despite all the messiness and issues God uses it to bring his truth to people's hearts.


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