Thursday, September 4, 2014


Have you ever preached a sermon only to realize that you were preaching to yourself? I don't mean no one came to church that day, I mean that as you spoke your carefully prepared words, your own heart was convicted, challenged, or inspired by them.

Actually this happens to me all the time. I don't preach what I've mastered, I preach what I'm learning. I'm starting to think that the whole reason God allows me to preach is so that I will learn what he wants to teach me.

But I'm in good company. Even the apostle Paul, in the midst of a brilliant admonishment to the Philippian church, paused and wrote, sort of parenthetically, "...not that I have already obtained all this...." In other words, he was preaching a truth that was, as of that moment, still beyond the reality of his experience. Yet. Yet, he was convinced of it.

Well, I recently had a double dose of this experience. I spent back to back Sundays at one of our supporting churches in the States last month, and I was asked to teach in two different Sunday school classes on those Sundays. To keep things simple, I just prepared one lesson, and taught the same lesson to the two different classes. 

But my own words keep coming back to me, as if the Spirit wants to remind me of the words he inspired me to teach. As if to say, "Jenn, the lesson was for you." Then, as I came home and began a new phase of spiritual formation, the same theme was replayed. Like the refrain of a song, it keeps haunting me. 

"You are not appropriately impressed with my greatness." 

God keeps whispering this sentence, a thought from my own Sunday school lesson. It was actually kind of a side note. I was talking about how we can easily get handicapped by either pride or insecurity, but at the root, I asserted, these two are the same. Whether I am arrogant or self-loathing, the core problem is that I am not appropriately impressed with the greatness of God.

You see, a person who has even the slightest inkling of God's majesty, power, and grace would have a hard time thinking too highly of herself. At the same time, anyone who has even glimpsed the wonder, beauty, and love of God would be hard pressed to underestimate her eternal value. If this great God is who he says he is, we should be completely enthralled by him, ready to do anything he asks, desperate for the privilege to be lost in him. 

But I'm not.

I sing worship songs with hands high in the air, then come home from church and send self-righteous e-mails to beloved ministry partners. Clearly, I'm more impressed with my own murky greatness, which is really depravity in Sunday clothes.

Or else I shrink back from the call before me, shaking in my boots with insecurity, whining about my weaknesses. Which goes to show that I am more focused on my lack of ability than his unending able-ness.

So this week (maybe this month or this year!) My prayer is this: "Jesus, let me be amazed anew by you."

Perhaps he will show me miracles. More likely, he will open my eyes to the wonders that surround me every day. Either way, I'm betting he'll take my breath away. And when he does, I will bow in reverence, weep with joy, or sing with gladness. But more importantly, I will be strengthened and encouraged in the innermost places, reassured that my God is, indeed, Lord.


  1. I'm on the same pathway. Looking back keeps me looking forward!

  2. Even suspecting that perhaps I am not appropriately impressed with my Almighty Lord makes me sad. Your thoughts have served as a prompt by reminding me to have faith when something begins pulling me down. Thank you for these great insights. Overall, the blog reminds me of that little book of long ago entitled your "God is too small." Ah, but He is not!