Over four years ago I stepped down from serving as the pastor of a church. I had been a true “preacher” of the Word. I studied and prepared and spoke with passion and led God's people from the pulpit as a teacher/shepherd. There was not an opportunity to preach that I turned down. And when I resigned, I entered into a time of silence—a time to reflect on my life as a minister, discern my errors, admit my flaws, speak honestly about the condition of my heart, and repent of my own sins.
In this time of introspection, I discovered that much of my prior ministry was colored by a subtle kind of arrogance that flowed from self-confidence and the desire to be proven right. I pray now that my labors were not all rendered useless by this dominant flaw. I shudder to think of the damage that my pride may have caused. The sins that were for me a personal struggle proved the presence and depth of pride in my heart. Once I brought them into the light, I was able to see how pride touched every dimension of my existence. I am grateful for the assurance of forgiveness I have in Jesus.
But I have also learned something else during this time of silence. I am a preacher. That part of me has not died. Remaining silent has been one of the most difficult tasks to manage, especially as of late. Everything I learn and read and see cries out be brought into the light of God's Word under the skills of godly preacher—explaining, expositing, exhorting, encouraging, exalting—I have trouble holding it in.
I have deep regard for the words of Jeremiah the prophet:
For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, “I will not mention him, or speak anymore in his name,” there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot. (Jer. 20:8b-9, ESV)
I feel this daily. I am blessed in that I am not persecuted as Jeremiah was. I am not under reproach and derision for being a Christian—not to my face, anyway. But I relate to the trouble Jeremiah had with self-imposed silence.
And I have come to the place where I believe the silence can be ended. I am grateful for the recent opportunities I have been given to preach. They have given release for my greatest passion. But I need more opportunity. There's too much getting bottled up on my inside and I'm ready to let it out.
Hence this blog.
I re-ignite it today as a place where I can release “preacher-steam.” I have no hopes or expectations of building a large reader-base. I certainly don't feel I deserve to be heard. But I must speak, and this forum provides the best present opportunity.
May Christ Jesus be honored here at this site by writer and readers alike!