Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ryan from Cleveland

One of the pleasures and privileges of ministry at this time in my life is the opportunity given me to lead sessions on preaching and worship to young preachers at License to Preach School at Epworth each February. I always tell these folks to preach with an expectation that people will respond. Today I was reminded of this lesson as I received an email from an unknown guy named Ryan from Cleveland, Ohio. According to his email he was surfing the web looking for sermons on holiness when he found a six sermon series I preached last summer entitled, Holiness: Our Heritage. I placed the sermon series on the church webpage and mostly forgot about it. About the first sermon in the series, Ryan wrote, "It blessed the socks off me!"
I must confess that I have never heard that as a response to a sermon. I have heard the usual, "Enjoyed the sermon, Preacher," and once was told, "That was the worst sermon I have ever heard," but never, "It blessed the socks off me!" But, what really struck me was the way God used a printed sermon on a church webpage to speak to another person on his spiritual journey. From my perspective, it is nothing short of amazing that his search for "sermons on holiness" would take him to my sermons on our church's webpage. I cannot even begin to think about the possibilities for such a search.
Yet, today, I was sitting there reading this email and found myself saying, "Wow!" And then I remembered the lesson taught to others last week. But, to be honest, I cannot help but be amazed that a sermon I preached would still be something useful in the hands of God. It was enough to think that it might have been when it was preached. "Yes, God, You are indeed full of surprises. Thank You for showing me again. Amen."

1 comment:

dawnp said...

What a wonderful reminder that our God can and will use us in ways that we never expected or thought about. It is so neat that you were able to hear from a perfect stranger how your words and insights into our Lord's word were able to bless him and perhaps set him on his own path towards holiness. The things we say and do, how we live our lives will always show were our hearts are with God and we never know who is watching or listening. We may never know the kind of impact we may have on someone by words or actions, but when we keep our hearts and minds focused on God we are assured that He knows. God bless you for your words and wisdom that have and will continue to impact the lives of those you know and those you will never know. How awesome is our God!