Well a couple weeks ago I talked about moralistic preaching.

So why not talk about some other aspect of preaching this week?

This blog post is mostly for myself, but it’s open to the public. Haha.

Remember when you first heard the Mumford and Sons album?  I do.  It was at a time in my life where it seemed like every lyric in the song spoke to me in a way that resonated with not only what was going on in my life, but in my soul.

Now maybe you haven’t listened to Mumford and Sons, but I am sure there has been some cd out there or at least a song out there, that every time you hear it, or perhaps for a time in your life, its every lyric just made you say that is what is going on in me.

I want to preach that way.

When I preach I want to be able to bring the reality and truth of God’s word, and who He is to the people I preach to, in a way that stirs their soul.

I want to preach better than a song.

Songs do a great job of connecting to us.  The songs that deeply move us tend to be songs that connect to us deeply. (besides being well played songs)

And I think if I preach well, the same can happen.

I think that’s something that the world could use more of.

I am not talking about preaching sermons that just connect to people and move them so they get good feelings.

I am talking about proclaiming the word of God that has moved me and changed me so that what flows from my lips comes from a heart connection with Him.

I am talking about exalting who God is in a way that speaks to the eternity on our hearts.

I just think we can all preach, or proclaim who God is in a way that people can connect with as they would with a song.

Whether I preach this way in my everyday conversations, or whether I do it from the pulpit, I want to preach better than a song.

This requires truth.

Most of all it requires God.

Holy Spirit, make me a person that can preach better than a song.  But let it not be my skill that is better, but your moving in my life, and who you are.  Draw more people to you. 

In Amurrrica, everyone knows what’s best.

In our culture and country, it’s as if we are told when we are born; “hey you’re the smartest, and the best, and you should live life that way. Also celebrities are really smart too.”

And to me the political season brings that out.  I don’t even know what season it is.  It’s hard to tell in Arizona.  But it seems like it’s the time in life where politcs are talked about a lot.  And everyone loses their minds.

Now I know writing this will probably endanger my blog with comments that say I just don’t get it.  And you are probably right.  That last part is not sarcasm.  I really don’t get it.  I know at some level politics can be a good thing for Christians to be apart of, and to care about,  however I have only seen the crazy side of that swinging pendulam.

So this blog isn’t about if politics are good or bad or whatever.

This blog is going to be about stewardship.

A Biblical stance on the government, is a government that issues justice for it’s people.

An Amurrican stance on government, is that the government is your provider of everything.

The Bible goes so far as to say that God puts those leaders in place above you.  (side note: Did God vote for Obama? o snap!)  Well I believe the Bible, and I think that God does place leaders in those positions.  What those leaders do in that position of authority is ultimately on them.

I say all that to give us a Biblical ground for government, as well as to say politics is a stewardship issue.

Say what?

That’s right a stewardship issue.

We think that we can tell people to steward things that aren’t ours to steward.

The reason I think it’s a stewardship issue is because a lot of times (forgive my judgemental observation) but those that are most passionate about politics, can’t even steward their own lives.

So my challenge is simple.  Do you steward your own life well?

God has given you a life to take care of.  In a lot of instances a family.  Or a car, or a job, or a hat.  And do you take those things that God has given you and use it in the way that God would use it?

Or are you too busy worrying about how others steward things while your life is a mess?

Do you have debt? Does your wife feel loved?  Do your kids feel known? Is your car clean?  Is Jesus known by your life and words?

If not, then in the words of Chef Ramsey Shut it down.

As Christians it would be awesome to have our life so well stewarded that the world comes to us for the political solutions.  But more often than not we run to the world with our political solutions, that have little to do with Jesus and more to do with donkeys and elephants.

If this is you let it convict you. If not, then keep on keeping on.  As for me, I am not against politics, I just see a greater need in my own life to steward the things I have before all my Facebook statuses are about politics.

Something I am passionate about is preaching.

When I was fifteen or sixteen my youth pastor asked me to speak to the youth group while he was gone on a mission trip, and I think it was then I found a passion and gifting that Christ had given me. 

It was probably not the best seeing as I misused the word debauchery several times as well as preached through the whole book of Galatians in one message.  Luckily God has given me a lot of opportunity and put great people in my life over the ensuing years to get better at preaching and fan that flame.

So back to what I was saying.  I am passionate about preaching.  I can also be very critical of it.  Sometimes over analyzing things preachers are saying.  Even when I prepare my sermon notes I really want everything I say to be Biblically true and sound, so I am careful with the words I speak so that I am not preaching something opposing the Gospel and the Bible. 

What I am most critical of is works based faith preaching or a preaching that promotes moralism in a way.  Basically a preaching that says something like “do this, because it’s the right thing to do.”  So maybe that’s not exactly works based faith, but that becomes the result of preaching moralistically I think.  And obviously it’s not always phrased like my example but honestly sometimes it is.

 The other side is a call to grace driven effort, which is the idea that because we have been accepted by God because of His grace, we are driven to run the race well.  That because of what Christ did we can’t help but be compelled to serve him by following His commands and living by the Spirit.   Which a lot of times is a promotion of those same morals that when preached a different way irk me.

I think it is important to define that line and be wary of it.  It can be a fine line because I think I seem to notice this slant towards moralism in preaching a lot.  (perhaps I am just too critical).  The reason this is an important line to notice is because if we preach moralism we are just preaching what a lot of other religions can agree with and get behind, and we don’t highlight the beauty and supremacy of Christ. 

So I think we can agree that preaching moralism is not a good idea.  Or not based in the Gospel.

My questions to preachers (Bible study leaders, Sunday morning preachers, missionaries, anyone that preaches) are; How do you avoid preaching moralism, and preach a grace driven effort?  How has that affected the people you have preached to?  How should we respond in our hearts when hearing preachers preach something that sounds moralistic, but by believing the best in them, knowing them, and knowing that’s not what they meant? 

My question to anyone that has heard a preacher is this;  What do you hear more of, a preacher preaching grace driven effort, or preaching moralism?  Or do you think the distinction is clear? 

This is a different post than I ususally do, but I am curious and would like to hear many opinons on this matter.  I already know my opinion on this matter, but I want to hear others opinions on this.  So let’s discuss here in this post among each other and see where the conversation leads.

Common Grace.

From what I understand common grace is another way that God shows his love and a type of grace to everyone. 

Basically common grace is the idea that people can live seemingly decent, and seemingly moral lives, because of the way God has made things.

It allows people to experience good things, like technology, or medicine, or love, or whatever other things we can enjoy, without any level of devotion to God through Jesus.

Of course this is all simply because God loves all and wants humans to experience good things, even though we by ourselves might not be able to have create those good things on our own.  (i.e. the earth, humans, other things you didn’t create.)  So if you don’t think there is a God you probably don’t believe in common grace.  You can either humor me or stop reading.

This idea of common grace is at the core of American culture.  Work hard enough.  Buy yourself enough comfortable things.  Make sure your family has everything they need and most of what they want.  Try and live as comfortably as you can.  Experience as much as you can.

We Americans love us some common grace.  We want as much as we can possibly get.  For a lot of people that’s really the end goal.  Get as many good things (common grace, or things that seem good in our perception) in our lives as possible.

And we as followers of Jesus sometimes settle for common grace.  We are happy having enough money.  We are happy going to a church we like.  We are happy having all the friends we want.  We without saying it or thinking it, make our lives about having as much common grace as we can.  It doesn’t feel like we’re settling though.  It feels like everything is good and that is what life is truly about.

And if anything stops the possibility of our our life with all those good things, well then we need to fight against that, politically, socially, or however else we would.  Quite often the disruption of that common grace, the possibility that some person or instituion could take away things we really care about in this world, makes us deeply angry and frustrated.

But 

I know of a grace that is better than common grace.

It’s not quite as common.

It could be, but it’s not.

This grace when experienced and understood just a little makes us see all of those good things in a new light.  It makes those good things far more beautiful, but not as valuable as they once were.

The grace I am talking about is so valuable that everything in your life can be taken away, and still the most important thing to you is still there.

This grace cannot be earned.

The grace I am talking about is unmerited favor from God.  That’s favor based on nothing we do.  It’s based on who He is.  And the reason we even get to have it, is because Jesus took on a debt we owed to a just God.  Jesus made it possible for us to have a relationship with the one true living God, by His life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus lives and He offers the best grace around.

It’s better than a good earthly thing.

And we need to realize that.  We need God’s grace to us to fuel our lives, rather than the good things on this earth that we get to experience.  Because now by grace, we get to experience the only good thing that doesn’t end.  God Himself.