Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Words That Resonate

I was thinking recently about the way preached words can inspire - and reflecting personally on examples in my life. Not so much great sermons although they may have been. But the measure in the end of a successful preached message is not in the performance or even the exegesis. Both are critically important and I push myself to get better for the sake of the listeners! But the measure of a sermon for me is the mystery of God working through it - did I get out of the way enough, did I listen hard enough in my preparation, did I 'hear' the need that I was to speak to clearly enough - that God might be freed to move.

A friend then mentioned he'd done a top 10 sermons, so I thought to record the 5 most personally impacting messages that I can recall (cos how many I have 'forgotten'):

Dean Drayton - 1992 at a Methodist Aldersgate Revival Camp at Lake Taupo - Dean was the visiting speaker, an Evangelical from the Uniting Church in Australia. Still reeling with the loss of my Dad and still very new to faith, Dean exposed a raw nerve in me that helped me discover my identity as a child of God.

Paul Windsor - 2001 at an Auckland District Camp of the Wesleyan Methodist Church out at Chosen Valley. Paul introduced me to conjunctive theology with his message from John 1 on being grace and truth. Living in the tension of 2 apparently conflicting impulses and being shaped by that tension to be a more faithful reflection of Christ. A single theological insight that has massive application across the spectrum of life and ministry.
Rob Bell - 2003 in Chicago at a Willow Creek Preaching Conference, Rob Bell preached one of the most amazing messages of all time on the atonement. It opened up for me the depth and resonance of the OT with the NT and I was astonished at the clarity of the links between Leviticus and Hebrews. He also had a goat on stage which is always going to win my vote, especially being there in person!

Melissa Powell - 2005 at cessioncommunity. Melissa preached on the church as salt and light - the need to be both and the tension that exists for the church in being both: preserving society from the rot AND being beacons that banish darkness. If I hadn't been the pastor of the church, I would have signed up on the spot to help take the vision forward. It told me I was a believer in what God was doing with my life.

So there it is, my top 5...hang on thats only 4. The #1 most impacting message of all time? It was one of mine. My first. It was appalling. I failed to communicate well. I was insufficiently prepared. It made no impact. It drew no mentoring response. And I didn't preach again for years and years. But it shaped me in ways I cannot even begin to explain - it primed me for ministry to be expressed as call rather than competence (cos only call could draw me back to it). But it prepared me for the hard work of competence in answer to the call.

4 comments:

Rhett said...

Paul Windsor spoke at a Wesleyan Camp?! Can we get him again?

Brett Jones at number 1... fantastic!

BJ said...

His whole grace-truth thing was very influential at the time, because the WMCNZ had formed on a truth stand, but was very invested in grace in terms of both salvation emphases and a freshening of a commitment to holiness/sanctification/transformation. A very timely word. I'd pay to see Paul speak so yeah, why not?!

The Deurs said...

I remember a kiwi speaking about Jacob at Watermark... legend!

jow129 said...

good processing, long may it continue.....
:oddly, it is in leading others to truth that we find our soulkd more whole heartedly wanting what we offer to others and what we we can find only in the perfect Prophet, Priest and King: Jesus. (Leading with a limp; Dan Allender p62)