Saturday, March 14, 2009

Last Sunday

I preached in a church. On a Sunday. Like a real church. In a morning service. It was big time.

Around Christmas time, my Pastor here in Vienna came to hear me speak. He and I got together a few weeks later to discuss the possibility of me speaking in church, but we kind of shelved the idea because of all that I am involved with at VCS. Then, a few weeks ago, he got really sick. The Lord was gracious to spare his life but his recovery would be a long process and would limit his time in the pulpit. He asked me if I would join the preaching team and teach some while he got back to full strength.

We are studying Ephesians right now and I was asked to teach on 5:1-21. Great. I've never preached in church before and I get to talk about imitating God (v.1), avoiding sexual immorality and greed (v.3-5), and discussing what it means to be filled with the Spirit (v.18).

I loved it.

And, because of how God usually works, I spent all week applying these verses in my own life and in dealing with situations with students and teachers at the school. Sunday went really well and multiple people encouraged me to speak again when I have the opportunity. That said, I would have to say that this has probably been the most difficult week I have ever faced in ministry because of some things going on with students.

Ephesians 5:8-14 have been the most applicable for me through all of it though. The passage begins a series of contrasts that Paul makes: Darkness-Light; Folly-Wisdom; Drunkenness-the filling of the Spirit. I have come back over and over to the contrast between darkness and light.

When we are believers who are walking in fellowship with God and are being continually filled with the Spirit, we evidence the fruit of light (v.9). This is the natural byproduct of walking in the Spirit because Jesus tells us that He is the light that has come into the world. If He is in us, and we are allowing Him to use us, His light shines through us. That's why He told the disciples they were the light of the world, it wasn't them, but Him in them. The light of Christ that is in us exposes the deeds of darkness both in our own lives and in the lives of the people we are around. And when this happens, not everyone likes it, especially people who love the darkness.

So, be continually filled by the Holy Spirit and walk in the light. Some people will be repulsed by you because they are repulsed by Jesus, and others will be drawn to you because they are drawn to Jesus. That's just kind of how it works.

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