All this weekend I hung out in the Cafe, since I wasn’t preaching. I especially enjoyed meeting new members and new comers and hearing about how they came to us. Over and over again, the number one reason I hear is “the message.” I spoke to two different families this morning who drive a considerable distance every Sunday, past many other churches of various denominations and styles, to come to this church just because of the message.
On the surface, it can be difficult to believe that the message matters. After all, it’s just words. And nobody’s paying attention anyway, right? But in many places Scripture itself describes the power of words. God speaks the world into existence. His word effects what it says.
We’ve been made like him, so our words have power too. That is not suggesting that “saying it makes it so.” A lot of preaching, of whatever school or style, is all about telling people what they want to hear. Those are just empty words, and they have no effect beyond pleasing the listener. We have an axiom around here that “saying it doesn’t make it so.” We can’t speak nothing into something, like God, but our words have the power to build up and the power to tear down. The Bible says,
Death and life are in the power of the tongue
Words have power and God’s word has God’s power. And when we speak God’s word we unleash God’s power. Proclaiming God’s word and being faithful to what it says unleashes God’s power in our congregation.
It’s not about me, or my preaching or whatever skills I might or might not have, its not about the funny stories or even the touching ones. It’s not about being clever or entertaining. It’s not about the topics we choose to explore. It’s not about the graphics or videos. It’s about God’s word.
Proclaiming God’s word and being faithful to what it says unleashes God’s power and it is the power to change people’s lives: healing what is broken, curing what is sick, raising up what was dead.The proclamation of God’s word changes people and as it does it changes the congregation, it breathes new life into it.
The message matters to us a lot and we hope that you’ll join us next weekend as we kick off a whole new message series called “Difficult People.” We’ll be digging into God’s word to see what it has to teach us about dealing with challenging and difficult people, even when we’re the difficult ones.(I just got back from listening to a band rehearsal for the new music for the series, and it is going to be over the top good; this is going to be an amazing series all the way around and you need to plan and be a part of now).
By the way, don’t forget that you can always listen to the message online anytime, the Sunday message is usually posted by Monday morning. And beginning in March we are introducing “Live! Nativity online campus.” Sunday’s at 10:30am we will be offering an interactive online experience with a live “web pastor” and the same music and message heard here on Ridgely Road. It will be a great place to invite a friend (who doesn’t have a church) and share the message.