I didn’t know whether to take it as a compliment, criticism, or merely someone’s observation. The young lady noticed me walking around a local store and wanted to introduce herself. After we exchanged pleasantries she told me she and her husband had been coming to CCCC for almost a year. Then, after the normal comments about how I’m shorter/taller, rounder/thinner[ref]Not really thinner, but I guy can hope can’t he?[/ref] than I appeared on Sundays on stage, the young lady added a comment about my preaching. She remarked, “Each sermon it’s like you tie everything to Jesus and the Cross. Like, every time. I mean, it’ll be a new angle or something, but in the end, it’s still about Jesus.”
Again, I couldn’t read her well enough to know which of the three categories I should classify her words. I responded with a little laugh and agreed, telling her that usually is how I preached. However, if I could do it over, here’s what I wished I would have said:[ref]It’s always after someone leaves and you have three hours of reflection that the right response finally hits you, isn’t it?[/ref]
Thanks! I take that as a compliment because that’s exactly what I’m trying to do. Now, I could tell you a bunch of reasons why Jesus and his work at the Cross regularly find a place in my sermons, but let me give you just one because we’re at the store and I’m sure my kids are lighting something on fire right now.
What if there was a place where each time you went you heard one more reason why your spouse, who you deeply love, is wonderful, fantastic, and good for you? Do you think your husband would encourage you to attend? Of course. Why? Because what better way to foster love for the one with whom you are in a covenant relationship than to be regularly reminded – again and again – how wonderful, fantastic, and good your spouse is for you. Each time you would leave with a heart a little bit bigger for him than the time before. In other words, each week your loved one would become a loved-a-little-more one.
That’s one reason I keep talking about Jesus in my preaching. We both know that no matter how good our spouses are, they don’t compare with the greatness of Jesus. I mean, he has redeemed us from sin, death, and hell. Because of the Cross, we have been forever forgiven, completely accepted, and eternally loved. And all of it out of sheer grace! Is there any question that Jesus is the most glorious, wonderful, and perfect Savior we could ever have? The problem is we tend to forget that. When we do, our hearts can shrink and cool for Jesus. So my aim each Sunday is to regularly remind us all of how wonderful, fantastic, and perfect Jesus is so that every time you walk out the door your Loved Lord becomes a Loved-a-Little-Bit-More Lord.
That’s why I keep talking about Jesus in my preaching.
…and, for the record, I am taller up close and personal. 😉