Sunday, 26 July 2009

'Preaching is easy talking is hard'

Yet again I've found good old John Newton really helpful. For the last couple of weeks I've been reading from his 365 days with John Newton compiled so well by Marylyn Rouse.

Taken from a sermon about Abraham, 'is anything too hard for the Lord?' he comments that, 'in some measure I am fruitful to you, at least in public. Yet alas I come short: I ought to follow you to your houses, to stop you in the street, to break in upon you in those places and at those seasons when you would least choose to see me, and to entreat you with the affection of Christ Jesus (Philippians 1.8) to consider what you are doing-to ask you, where is the blessedness you once spoke of? There is something in my temper that makes this hard, an almost impossible service....but is anything too hard for the Lord?

He shows remarkable honesty and self awareness. I think for those of us who are elders/leaders in Christian churches, it is all to easy (relatively speaking) to speak from the pulpit when we really should be having one-to-ones with our folk. A booklet which helped me a lot about this kind of thing is by Wallace Benn called the Baxter model, based on the pastoral visiting of Richard Baxter in 17th century Kidderminster.



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