Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Seeking Jesus...

I picked up a copy of Frank Honeycutt's book Preaching to Skeptics and Seekers as a resource for a new ministry we will be beginning at our congregation very shortly. I started to glance through the book and saw that the foreword was written by William Willimon. I am sharing some excerpts from that foreword.

  • One of my problems with so-called seeker services and seeker-sensitive churches is that, in my pastoral experience, whatever most people are seeking, it isn't Jesus. We live in a society of omnivorous desire where people tend to grab at everything hoping that they might seize upon something that will give them a good reason to get out of bed in the morning. We are trained to be relentless consumers who think that our lives can be made worthwhile through the acquisition of things. In such a climate, it is too tempting for us preachers to reduce the Christian faith to just another lifestyle option, another means of making bascially good people even better, another way to get what you thought you wanted before you wanted Jesus.
  • Jesus is not the fulfillment of all of our desires; he is also a judgment upon many of our desires, the rearrangement of our need.
  • The Christian faith is more than an answer, a solution to a problem, a source of meaning for our lives. It is about taking up a cross, about following Jesus down a narrow, countercultural way that not everyone wants to walk.
  • It is not easy to be a preacher. It is a challenge to reach out beyond the comfortable boundaries of those who already share the Christian faith with us to engage the thos who do not yet know, much less follow, a crucified Savior. It is an even greater challenge to preach Jesus. Jesus tells us to go into all the world and teach and preach. Yet what Jesus wants preached and taught is often at considerable odds with the ways of the world. Sometimes our evangelistic fail, not because we failed to preach well, but because we preached Jesus.
  • Yet, by the grace of God, there is success. God grants us a hearing. The gospel's news has become good news for people who find to their surprise that, in all their seeking, Jesus was seeking them. They have, despite their misgivings as listeners and our mistakes as preachers, heard and believed. Their seeking and searching has found its goal and they are home. To be God's instrument in that homecoming is what the preacher seeks. In preaching to those who seek, we delightedly discover that we have all been lovingly sought and found.
I pray that I always preach Jesus so that those who are seeking know that Jesus is seeking them.

Peace.

2 comments:

P.S. an after-thought said...

Good quotes. I've always wondered how a preacher deals with the tension that would (could) be generated internally between getting those "Good sermon, pastor" comments and the silence that might follow preaching some of the harder messages of the Gospel. Or what about getting a "good sermon, pastor" response when the sermon is quite pointed.

Phillip said...

It's a good book. I pick it up and re-read it from time to time.