I’m sorry that my posts have been infrequent lately–I’m trying to take some time with family this summer, because my year coming up is going to be so busy!
But I have some things on my mind that I thought I would share with you.
One of the things that happens once a speaker has been speaking for a while is that we tend to get known outside of our traditional circles. For instance, while I speak mostly to evangelical church groups, I also write a family column in our local paper. And so lots and lots of non-evangelicals know who I am, and they know I speak.
And so every summer, when many ministers take vacations, I get asked to guest preach at small rural United Churches near the town where I live. For my American friends, think a combination of Episcopalian and Methodist. Very mainline.
I never charge my full fee. I consider this a real honour, and a real responsibility that God is giving me. It is one thing to speak to an evangelical audience and challenge them. It is another thing entirely to be asked to speak to a mainline church to people who may never have heard the gospel properly.
That is a humbling thing indeed.
I’m going to open with the story of an experiment that took place off of the Brazilian coast. Two identical wine bottles were dropped, with messages inside, off of a boat. One drifted east, washing up one hundred and thirty days later off the coast of Africa. The other drifted northwest, landing in Nicaragua one hundred and ninety days later. They started in exactly the same place. They ended up half a world away from each other.
We can never drift closer to something we care about. We only ever drift apart.
And so I am going to talk about how we cannot drift through life; we need purpose, and we need to know where we are aiming. And I’ll take it from there.
One thing I have found when speaking before mainline audiences is that they are passionate about things like faith and purpose. They aren’t as comfortable with Jesus. But if you can open with the things that they are passionate about, you can then bring in Jesus afterwards.
As always, I find that bringing in humour, and even props, helps people to listen better.
And so even though this will be one of my smallest audiences this year, and even though it may look rather insignificant, I am considering this one of my most important speaking engagements. And if you all could take a minute to pray for those who will be listening, I would so appreciate it!
Have you had this sort of blessed opportunity, to present the gospel to those who may not have heard it? What did you do? Let me know!