Sunday, 18 May 2014

It's been 20 years!

This morning I had the joy and privilege of preaching at Metro Methodist Church, as part of our Circuit pulpit swap - this is where we preach at other churches around the community. Today was an extra special day for me as it marked 20 years since I preached my first sermon - which also happened to be at Metro Church. I can't believe it has been 20 years already - wow, time has flown by!

I can vaguely remember sweating bullets before that first sermon, practising for hours and not sure how it actually went in the end. Thankfully God was very gracious to me that May Sunday (in 1994) and my 'markers' were also generous enough to let me proceed as a lay preacher. The preaching journey has been a deeply rewarding one and I recognise how much I have changed and grown over the years. I still get nervous before I preach, especially as I realise the great task I have been given - I never want to take this responsibility lightly.

I am also extremely grateful for the many wonderful men and women God has brought across my path over the years. These good people have encouraged me and have inspired me to carry on. I especially remember a phone call I received one Wednesday morning (in 1995), from a retired minister I hardly knew. I was just about to pack it all in, when God prompted this faithful servant to call me - his encouragement literally changed my heart and he convinced me to keep preaching and to trust in God's guidance. I am forever indebted to him.

The following scripture has been one that has meant a lot to me over the years. It speaks of how we need to trust in God's love and guidance and not to rely on our own understanding. God is good and faithful. He will never let us go!

 My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.

Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
    bind them around your neck,
    write them on the tablet of your heart.
Then you will win favor and a good name
    in the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. - Proverbs 3:1-6

Living in Grace

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