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."