Oh For The Love of God
I am not good at public speaking. I find public speaking very challenging. I know I am a pastor and that’s just part of the job but it is still true. When I prepare to speak I plan, I study, I write, and I rehearse. Then I rewrite, I study more, I rewrite again, I pray, and I rehearse again. I in the end if I do not have at least three rewrites, there is a problem. I pray for wisdom and I pray the point gets across. I also pray that if I am missing the point that I get corrected.
Recently, while preparing a message, I was experiencing a gradual increase in nervousness. By the day of, I was wildly nervous. Nervous like Chris was in the movie Get Out. Remember when he realized his fiancé was in on the plot? I won’t spoil any more of that movie but if you haven’t seen it, stop reading this right now and go watch it. It’s that good. Okay, so maybe I wasn’t that nervous. Anyway, that Sunday, I was complete with excessive sweating and hand shaking. Not the friendly kind of hand shaking either. I looked down at my hands and they would not hold still. I thought I needed anxiety medication so that I could speak. Somehow, I got through that message and no one was the wiser. I either received some divine help or the old game of fake the confidence until you have some, worked. I’m thankful for either.
The following week the nerves weren’t as heavy. I had more prep time. Using John chapter seventeen, I wanted to prepare the team for some downers that can come with church planting and talk about unity. I wanted to get across what being united in purpose looked like and the high priestly prayer was a great place. Jesus prayed that we would be one with each other and with him so that the world would believe that the Father sent him. However, during my prep, I could not get over that fact that Jesus was facing betrayal and death but he still stopped to pray specifically for us. That kind of love blows my mind. I’m not sure that I’m equipped with that kind of love. Somewhere in the middle of that, I realized that I was missing the big idea. The big idea wasn’t about being united in purpose. The big idea was the love of God. The prayer even ends with a promise. A promise of the love of the Father being in us. Go ahead and read it. You’ll see. It turned out that Jesus does desire that we be united in purpose but the reason he desires that is so that the love of the Father would be in us. A week later and I’m still blown away by this. In the end, I am glad that I missed the point. Finding the point, the way it happened, made it resonate in new ways. If I’m learning anything from preparing messages, it’s that the message is far less about what I want to say than it is about what God is teaching.
Tapestry Cincinnati is blessed with a team that is united in purpose. My prayer is that we experience the love of God and we share it.