There I was, ordained, with a ministerial position, and with a preaching style I felt was finally starting to gel together and define itself. I was quite comfortable with myself and my preaching style; personal, persuasive, practical. It was one of those, perhaps rare, moments when ministry and your place in it makes sense...Then God gave me my latest sermon topic. I watched in baffled amazement as a sermon began to form on the page before me that was nothing like "me" - all fire and brimstone, talking of consequences and wrong-mindedness. Horrifying. I had gotten quite comfortable being the "love preacher," who brought up challenging but liberating truths gently and personally.
I have learned that when I get comfortable, God loves to stretch me and grow me to the next level. I had gotten comfortable with a style of ministry that involved very little confrontation. (How very un-prophetic of me.) So, of course, God appears to tear down the reassuring fences and limitations I had built around me.
This Sunday I'm preaching a sermon on Amos 5:20-24 entitled, "Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself," and I'm more than a little bit terrified. I often get that way when I sense God is going to do something beyond what I can anticipate. There is always something exhilarating and unpredictable about serving a Living God, as opposed to a figment of my imagination.
I am reminded of a pastor's comment to me, "We want good for ourselves, but God wants best for us." - Thank you Reverend Kouadio!
So I will leap forward, heart racing, into the path God has placed before me, dying (daily, as Paul said) to see how God continues to transform and enliven me.