Friday, February 19, 2010

Winning the Prize

We have been watching and enjoying the Winter Olympics. These are sports that most people (including me) don’t follow regularly, but every four years we can get totally engrossed in the competition. And we can become “experts” about things we have never even tried (snowboarding, luge, skiing downhill at 70mph). The games have reminded me of the old Wide World of Sports motto: “The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”

They have also reminded me of the words of the Apostle Paul: Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
1 Corinthians 9:25-27.

Let’s win the prize, eh?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Le'Go My Ego

Remember the old Toby Keith Song?
I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my me my
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you you you you, usually, but occasionally
I wanna talk about meeeeee

This past week I read two articles that had contrasting premises. The topic was preaching and the amount of time preachers spend talking about themselves. One writer suggested that preachers do not talk about themselves enough. Therefore, the congregation rarely gets to hear what is close to its minister’s heart. The other author opined that many preachers talk about themselves far too often. This happens through illustrations, personal anecdotes, and humorous stories. Mark Galli wrote, "The sermon has inadvertently become the showcase of the pastor’s life and faith. Less about the centrality and greatness of Jesus. “

I think Galli is right. I listen to a lot of preaching (via podcasts, CDs, conferences, etc.), and many times I have heard too much about the preacher and too little about Jesus. My wife tells me that I don’t share enough personal stories and illustrations. She might be right, but I would rather leave people wanting to know more, rather than rolling their eyes, saying, “Sigh, here he goes again. What an egomaniac!”

I think it would be better to follow the lead of John the Baptist. He had the proper attitude about Jesus: "He must increase, but I must decrease.”

How about you? What’s your opinion of this issue?