I'm guest preaching tomorrow at Hosanna Vineyard. I could speak on anything, but I really feel that it is important that I stick with the lectionary. So tomorrows gospel reading is the Temptation of Jesus from Luke. I've read, re-read, examined key passages in the Greek, compared Luke with Matthew and Mark (;-)), read the context, made a few pages of notes, prayed through the verse, read the accompanying texts from the lectionary and I have a direction but I'm arriving with fear and trepidation.
This is a special community and they are used to a different style of preaching. I'm not going to be hoping from verse to verse here, I'm going to deal with the text. My heart is that my message will be life giving to a congregation that has had a rough go of it the last year or so. I really don't care if my message is "polished" as long as it breathes something of the life of the Spirit in them. But having said that, I don't want to pull any punches. This is a tough text and I think they need a tough text. This is the text that situates Jesus' whole ministry - and those are the insights I want to draw from.
So here I am blogging and praying my way through the text. Trying to name some of my hesitations so that I can face them head on. If this text is what takes the newly baptised Jesus to the point of launching his public ministry then it has that same potential in us. At the very least it can direct us to the areas God wants us to mature in as we seek to be faithful to the calling on our own lives.
I have to be careful, in my community I can talk easily about political activism and social engagement. I know we've spent enough time talking about such things that people will get it. But here I am stepping into a conservative neo-pentecostal setting and bringing a message in a format they might not expect and with content that will challenge their worldview. Is it any wonder I am a bit timid? I want to be careful though, these are great people and a great church. I've hung out with them many times in the past which has been great. And they are a mixed community, my challenge will be to preach a message that engages with each of them, challenging them all to take a step further into a Kingdom lifestyle.
It is going to be fun, I better get my notes sorted out and practice my message. Please pray for me.