I am speaking for the first time in about three months this coming Sunday. It will be at my father in-law’s church in Bremerton. It is funny because for the first time in a long time I feel like I am struggling with the message I am supposed to speak. Why the struggle? Because I am about half way through writing what I really feel like God has called me to speak to them and my recent changes in philosophy of ministry are nagging me.
I set out to just write a sermon like every sermon I have ever written before. The church is a very traditional Pentecostal church so the kind of sermon I would normally speak would be just fine. As I was writing it today I kind of started second guessing myself. Not about subject matter but about how I should be communicating it. Am I selling myself out if I “go back” and preach a message like I would have a year ago?
I kept asking myself if this sermon was me or if it was God directing me? I kind of think it has to do with something I have never put into words before….Something McLaren calls letting the Bible read you rather than you reading the Bible. It is something I have always done instinctively but never articulated. The concept is this: rather than reading the Bible for answers to all of our questions we should be “honestly [listening] to the story and put[ting] ourselves under it’s spell, so to speak…trusting God to use it to pose questions to us about us.”
It is funny how therapeutic writing like this is…In writing this I just answered my own question. The problem is that I am using scripture to answer a question…In this case: “How do I live a life of faith?” What I am not doing is something that I usually do when I speak…letting the Bible ask me the question and searching that out to it’s conclusion (if there is really a ‘conclusion’ to the question).
So with the revelation I have just received I go back to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show me where it is that he would have me “let the Bible read me?