"What can a ruined soul, like mine, effect towards the redemption of other souls?—or a polluted soul, towards their purification?"

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Everything Else Follows Preaching

Cynthia and I visited the church of a pastor friend of mine today. We've been there before.

Angel Falls is a nice town. I would leave here, but Angelica and the kids are still here. I've told you before and I'll tell you again - Angelica and I have a great relationship after the divorce. We get along better now than before, believe it or not.

But I only get to see them every other weekend and at Angelica's whim. Which is pretty darn often, thanks to a great post-divorce relationship with her. Cynthia has been wonderful in this whole process. She and Angelica get along well, considering everything. I love her so much. She's such a trooper. I was talking to her tonight about what she would do if something happened to me. If I was her and something happened to me, I'd find some rich millionaire and bury me in lime in the backyard. But she said she'd cherish my memory forever. What a sweetie.

Anyhow, we went to a pastor friend's church today - his name is Brad. He said from the pulpit today these very words, "God's grace and love are enough to cover any cover any of our sins. I dare say I'm the biggest sinner here." I know, I swear he saw me come in. I forgot to challenge him after service. Before his conversion, he was a borderline adulterer (didn't cross the line), an alcoholic, a gambler, could cuss the wallpaper off the wall, and was a mean, mean man. Guess what? I could do all those things while I was pastor.

I was the biggest jackass in the room today. But I wouldn't dare challenge a pastor in his own church. To his face. But I'll call him later this week.

The point of this blog is to let you know one thing - he can preach the wallpaper off a wall. The music was straight out of the Baptist hymnal that was the unupdated version. That's okay. The congregation wasn't too young. I'd say they were around an average age of 55. That's okay too. You know what I've noticed the last two visits? They've been baptizing the last two times. That tells me they have a pastor who is very serious about evangelism.

And his sermon was very serious about sovereignty. Cynthia told me after the sermon that not once did I roll my eyes or mutter under my breath. She's right. Because in this county, Brad is the pastor most likely to preach the word of God with humility. He humbles himself in the pulpit and even does so to the point of tears.

I wish I had his humility when I preached. We're taking the kids there next week.

Do I care about the slightly outdated music? Sure. But the music always follows preaching. And I'll always follow strong, convicted preaching first that follows the Word of God.


  1. Thanks for raising this point. I agree that great preaching has to be central to any church's thriving. In my own experience, there have to be a lot of other things that come together (like the music) and while any one of those other factors is a little off, it'll probably be ok, if enough of them are, or if one of them is really an epic fail, it can make resting the whole thing on great preaching a shaky business.
    In my own situation, I've been thinking about these things quite a bit. I'm probably the pastor of that aging First Baptist you mentioned in a recent post, where in spite of preaching the wallpaper off the wall week after week, it seems like preaching to the back wall, for all the (lack of) response I get from the people.
    Last week I posted some initial thoughts on what makes good preaching good. I'd love your thoughts about that.

  2. Excellent points. I just read your blog and commented on it.

    Christ and his Apostles traveled all around and their ministry was based on one thing - preaching the Word. It wasn't primarily about miracles. The miracles were there to authenticate the preaching.

    There were times they'd preach and not do miracles.

    Anyway, keep the faith and keep preaching. You already know this, but it's good to hear again - someone out there is listening in your congregation and is being touched. Often, it's us, the pastor, who is being transformed by the work of the sermon.

    And sometimes, that's enough.

    Take care,

  3. Did Craig Houston know you were going to use his picture? I'm sure you have no idea who he is when using his picture...but I know that guy personally.

  4. Reforming Baptist,

    Sure didn't. Don't even know who he is, but I'll take it down. But he looks good preaching. I never looked that good. If you talk to him tell him he looks pretty darn sharp.

    I'm assuming if you know him, he's pretty solid.