Five sermons in fifteen days. That was the requirement of my preaching practicum towards licensing recently.
I didn't even know my brain could contemplate so much so fast, and the earth was not put on pause so I could get my work done. It was intense, but honestly, it was one of the best spiritual experiences I've have in a long time.
Because I didn't have time to be perfect.
What's Holding You Back?
In preparation to write this blog, i went back to the sermon that provoked me the most. I called it, Soul Praise. In it, I asked the question,
"Is something keeping you from your authentic praise?"
The text was Ephesians 1:3 (New international Version):
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
"Paul is writing to a church that is geographically, logistically, and spiritually at the crossroads of Christianity. False teachers are circling, so priorities must be set in order. And the first order of business is God."
~From the sermon, Soul Praise
We talk a lot in the faith about Paul writing to the church from the pit of a prison (as we should for we are eternally blessed for how God used him there). But each of the churches he wrote to were in some way or another in their own prison as well. But Ephesus was a breakthrough church, and being so required an elevation in their spiritual resilience, thinking, and praise. Paul demonstrates in the text the power and important of prioritizing praise.
God demands that we be ready to celebrate and receive Him in every circumstance through the authenticity of heart, our love, our words.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~Luke 12:48 NIV
Authentic Praise Doesn't Have to Get Ready to Be Ready
As I look over this rough draft of the sermon, I see so many errors. Misplace punctuations. Capitalization where there should be none. They were corrected in the final draft, but I'm so grateful that my offering to my God doesn't have to be perfect.
This version is where I felt his touch.
This version is where I cried my tears.
This version is where I didn't hesitate to open up and let Him see me.
There is a praise that only your soul can give. Want to love God perfectly? Give him your imperfect praise.
As a close to the sermon, I paraphrased the lyrics of Donny Hathaway's iconic song, A Song for You. I encourage you to pray it for yourself:
Lord, I've been so many places in my life and time I've sung a lot of songs I've made some bad rhymes I've acted out my life on stages with somebody always watching But we're alone now And I'm singing this song to you I know your image of me Is what I hoped to be I’ve treated you unkindly Father, can't you see? There's no one more important to me Jesus, can't you see through me? 'Cause we're alone now And I'm singing this song to you You’ve taught me precious secrets Of a true love withholding nothing You came out in front when I was hiding Now I'm so much better but even if my words don't come together I pray you listen to the melody 'Cause my love is in there hiding Father, I love you in a place Where there's no space or time I love you for my life You're a friend of mine And when my life is over Remember when Lord, when we were together We were alone And I was singing this song to you
You were fearfully and wonderfully made to love God like
So what are you waiting for? It doesn't get more perfect than that.
I'm so grateful to share in a part of your day!
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Know that I am praying that you give God what he wants... YOU!
See you next week.