Sermons just don’t do it for me anymore. For that matter the music or should I say spiritual songs, don’t do it for me either. I have served as a preacher in five churches of various lengths and sizes. It was overwhelming experience to which I have always accounted as both a privilege and call. To translate the difficult and make it plain and relevant is a task not to be taken lightly. I am fully aware of the time which must be expended to reach that perfect balance between deep theology and practical understanding. It is a gift from God to both the preacher and those who submit themselves each Sunday. They come to fill their spiritual bread baskets full for the week. They depend on the preacher to fill infuse them to carry on for a little while longer.
Years have come and gone. Hundreds of messages, prayer meeting studies, Sunday School lessons and Bible studies have been completed. I continually study, build and prepare messages. Weekly Bible study for the men in our church requires just as much time and preparation as preaching; or maybe even more. And if the truth be known, these studies are more preaching than a shared study. A few faithful shows up each week and seem to be challenged. Some are even studying ahead. One even told me that the studies has caused him to dig deeper.
As I recollect on the nearer present, I am not quite as enthused. I don’t get much out of the messages as presented in church. Sure, there is evidence of study and all the video clips are well placed, but they are not doing it for me. There is nothing new. There is nothing challenging. I am easily distracted and the slow pace of the sermon allows my mind to wander. I guess I would rather read a well thought out argument, than to listen to one more three point, fill in the blank sermon.
I connect to God by working. My connection to God is more focused and more intimate when I am doing for Him. I find true joy in study and passing on that knowledge, that wisdom on to others. It is not enough to just accumulate a vast amount of facts and illustrations. There is a true joy in helping someone else to light the fire of their own intellectual pursuits.
So, I am at a quandary. Do I just keep on going to church to be seen by my brothers and sisters? Does the effort equal any reward? I can well fill my own basket. I share from my basket and it never seems to run out. I feel an inner satisfaction with the supply by God. I read voraciously the great preachers; I am challenged by the great hymns of the church. I long for a church which challenges me more and coddles me less.
Where do I find intimacy with God? It is in my books, in my study, in the crafting of words to would challenge others. I guess that is good enough.