Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Work of Preparation

Yesterday and today I’m involved in some continuing education. Specifically I’m learning how to preach with one of my mentors with whom I spent a week at Oxford two years ago. When I’ve mentioned to others that I’m spending a couple of days learning how to preach I always hear the quip, “Don’t you think that you’ve learned how to do that by now?”

Yes, I’ve been a teacher of the Bible and Christian faith for several years. Yes, there is a good bit that I know about it. No, I’m not an expert and there is still so much to learn. As I finished yesterday there were three reflections that occurred to me.

One, I am so blessed that I have the privilege of preaching and teaching God’s Word and God’s ways. Let me repeat, I’m not an expert about any of it but I am an intentional lifetime learner about it all. It is humbling to see how far I still have to go. By God’s grace I’m still on the journey.

Two, I love to learn. It hasn’t always been that way. Learning used to be a pain but now it is a joy. I’m really not sure how that happened but I’m glad that it did. I do wish it had happened back in the years when I was pursuing degrees. Oh well.

Three, the power of mentoring is a marvel. Joel Gregory is the presenter at my two day seminar. He is a seminary professor, author and former pastor. He is a scholar, a brilliant communicator, a powerful teacher and a recovering sinner. Dr. Gregory at one time was senior pastor of one of the largest churches in America and at about the three year mark imploded his life. He lost his marriage and left the ministry and at one point sold cemetery plots door to door. He has been as high as one can get in the ecclesiastical world and has been about as low as one can fall. Today he is a humble servant of God who is a picture of the redeeming work of God. I’m a grateful recipient of his influence.

“Father, use my life, the highs and lows, to draw others to relationship with Christ and abundant living.”

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