On Sickness, Sports, and Preaching

Photo by  Martin Reisch  on  Unsplash

Photo by Martin Reisch on Unsplash

I’m not sure that those three things have any particular correlation to one another, except to say that this present sickness has made me watch and do things that my normally healthy self would avoid. I watched the NFL Pro Bowl. 

I will admit that I was in and out of a conscious state on Sunday afternoon mainly out of pure exhaustion from preaching two services and having either the flu or the cold. I can’t say for sure because the CDC continues to alter the definitions of what is a cold and what is the flu. I have both. Or neither one. I don’t know. 

Anyway as I lay in a semi-comatose state on my couch on Sunday the only thing that sounded remotely therapeutic was the sound of helmet-on-helmet collisions and the soothing monochrome voice of Sean McDonough. Even though it was absolutely the most boring and worthless game of the whole season I allowed it to venture into my psyche as I drifted in and out of sleep. 

In some way that is what preaching on Sunday morning was for me. I crawled in sick because I loved the passage I was to preach so much, and the topic of the glory of Christ was one that I would literally have to be dead not to try and communicate. I remember my introduction — the clever email I found about the Nigerian astronaut that was still stuck on a Soviet space-station after 28 years and all that was needed was my assistance in the form of a bank account to transfer the 15 million dollars to safely get him home. I remember pointing out our need to see the real Christ, not some cultured counterfeit, and I remember very little else. I did this twice. 

I don’t know if it was a good sermon. I suspect that it was a slow roller up the third base line. Good enough. Serviceable. Not great. I don’t know if it helped anyone, or if I should put away some pride next time I’m sick and make the call to the bullpen and let a healthier, better-rested man bring the power of the gospel to bear on the church. 

What I do know, and cherish, is after the first service a kind and humble gentleman came up to pray for me. That meant all the world. I don’t remember much else. I don’t need to. 

I may not endeavor to preach feeling that poorly ever again. But to proclaim Christ was worth it. And if I ever do, perhaps it’ll be on Pro Bowl Sunday and a drug-induced coma will quickly take me away after the church services to soft touch hits and the sons of Brees fighting on the sidelines. 

The Blog Is Dead; Long Live The Blog

Photo by  Joshua Ness  on  Unsplash

Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash

Around the internets, I’ve seen comments that blogging is on its way out. That being the case, I’ve decided it’s the perfect time to get back into it. You’ll thank me for my future-focused mindset and bucking the trends…. if the blog lives. 

In memoriam of the blog, he’s an “Everything That’s On My Mind (Almost)” list.

  1. Is it baseball season yet? I like what the Giants have been doing in their offseason to shore up the roster. January is a long dark month on the hot stove. 
  2. The #BCSPasCon18 was great this year. So much helpful on the Spirit and his ministry in my life, and in the church. Dr. Piper’s last plenary session was of particular help to me. 
  3. I’m concurrently preaching in Mark, writing a sermon from Psalm 119, and crafting a sermon series in the summer on the life of Samuel. 
  4. Gospel-Centered Discipleship had a great year. I’m excited about the future and the continued development of the resources and writing God has entrusted to us.
  5. Why does the eye doctor punish you for seeing well by dilating your pupils? 
  6. E.B. White now graces my site header. This picture inspires and astounds me. I’d love to have a shack to write in just like that. 
  7. Favorite vinyl right now? Over the Rhine Drunkard’s Prayer, War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding, U2 Songs of Experience.
  8. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preachers and Preaching is essential reading for anyone who aspires to stand in the pulpit and declare God’s Word. 
  9. Eagles by 5.
  10. I pray for no more snow this year. 
  11. I'm staring at you Long's Peak... this summer, let's meet.  

 

Dear Woodside... Kadima!

“Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” (1 Timothy 6:12, ESV)

”KADIMA!”

You’re going to hear that phrase a lot over the next seven weeks. It’s going to be a battle cry and anthem at Woodside. Kadima! “Come on, let’s go!” Kadima is a Hebrew word which means “forward.” The word has a sense of action, impulse, progress, and movement. For us we’re not talking about just getting off the couch and getting busy with life — we’re looking at making progress in the Christian faith and in our pursuit of Christ.

Often times we can look at the Christian life, and our spiritual growth, as a some what passive action. God works on us, God works in us, God works for us. We are the recipients of God’s grace. That can make us feel comfortable and secure. It should! God is the one who has done everything to reconcile us to himself. Jesus is the one who paid the penalty of our sins and died on the cross so that we are forgiven in him. We receive those gifts by faith.

But the Christian life isn’t merely one of sitting back and letting God work and somehow we amazingly end up in his presence forever at the end of our lives. No, the Bible speaks about God’s people moving forward in their faith. The Scriptures are clear that as a result of God’s work for us first we become people who move forward in our growth. This is what Paul was getting at with Timothy.

All throughout 1 & 2 Timothy, Paul is speaking to spur on Timothy to action. He tells him things like, “do your best to present yourself to God as one approved” (2 Timothy 2:15) and “train yourself for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7) and “practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress” (1 Timothy 4:15). Even the passage I mention above “fight the good fight! Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” speaks of the pursuit and ambition forward of godliness. The Scriptures resound with the cry of a general saying “Kadima! Forward!”

Jerry Bridges in his book The Practice of Godliness summarizes it in this way when he says “godliness is no optional spiritual luxury for a few quaint Christians of a bygone era or for some group of super-saints of today. It is the privilege and duty of every Christian to pursue godliness.” Over the next seven weeks at Woodside we are going to be challenged in several ways. Through the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to our lives I am hopeful that you will be spurred on in your growth and pursuit of godliness more and more. Let’s not be a church that just sits back and enjoys the fruits of what God has already done in the past through us. Let’s kadima! and “take hold of the eternal life to which we were called.” Let’s move forward in grace and godliness together this year!

Gathering for Worship

Our first Kadmia movement is entitled “From Looking Back to Moving Forward” and we will be in Philippians 2:12-14 this Sunday morning. As we gather we will be singing together:

  • Open the Heavens
  • Great Are You Lord
  • Grace So Glorious
  • Blessed Assurance
  • Lord, I Need You

We’ve posted the songs as a playlist at Spotify so you can listen (or sing along) beforehand.

Work and Feasting

Towards the end of this month, Saturday January 30th, we will be having a campus work day to clean, update, beautiful and finish some projects around the campus. We would love to have your help that day as we spruce up and work to maintain the building well. These workdays are always a good opportunity to spend some time with others at the campus and build relationships.

Additionally, the 31st we will be celebrating a Family Feast together after the 11am service. We want the church to get together and join us in celebrating the last year of God’s mercy at Woodside Plymouth. We’ll have a sign up and more information for you on Sunday morning to be able to participate in bringing dishes to share with the church.

I am looking forward to being with you again on Sunday and worshipping our Lord and God together. Please let me know if there is anyway I can be in prayer for or serve you. Let’s grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord together!

Kadima!

Jeremy