This past Sunday I had the privilege of getting to teach the message during our weekend gathering, as I get to do a few times a year, which I love to do. Every single time I have that opportunity to preach someone will inevitably ask me the same question: “do you get nervous?” My answer is always “yes”, but probably not for the reason that you would think.
It’s not stage-fright. Honestly, I love being in front of a crowd. I have always said that if I hadn’t been called to ministry I would want to be involved in some sort of public speaking, be it leadership training or stand up comedy or whatever. It’s a good thing God pulled me into ministry because honestly I don’t think my jokes are funny enough to pay the bills and my kids like to eat and have a house.
No, the reason I feel pressure when I preach is, I feel the weight of standing in front of God’s people and proclaiming His truth from His Word. There is no greater responsibility. I certainly don’t want to be standing in front of God one day and hear “Chad, you really missed the mark on that message.” Keeping people engaged with a message is certainly important, but making sure that same message is Biblically accurate is by far the most important part of any preparation to teach.
So knowing that, every single time that I or any other pastor at VFC steps into the pulpit you can rest assured that there is lots of scripture reading, lots of research, lots of input from Godly and trusted friends, but most importantly lots of prayer. Prayer that is focused on the fact that unless God shows up and moves that ultimately what we are trying to do is meaningless.
Monday morning as I was sitting down to my desk and preparing for the work week I had the thought that “this week will be a little bit easier than last week with no message to finalize” and God whispered in my ear “does that mean you will rely on me any less?” The thought hit me like a freight train. How often do we get on our knees and fervently pray when we feel desperate for God and then ignore him when things are easy? I know that I am guilty of this. When a family member is sick, when I have a big project at work, when I feel in danger or whatever it may be, I pray and pray hard. But then, when the sickness is gone, the project is over, the safety has arrived and success has been given by God, I so often move on so quickly and forget that every single day of our lives should be focused around our reliance on God and His incredible grace and mercy.
Right now, we are all journeying together through this time of focused prayer and fasting. My question to you as you read this is: what happens when God brings the victory? What happens when the things that we pray for show up? Do we say a quick prayer of thanks and move on? Or will we stay desperate for the Spirit of God to continue moving in our lives and the lives of those around us? My encouragement would be for us to always stay hungry for the moving of the Lord. To never forget the great things that He has done. To remember the goodness of God in every season and continually rely on Him in the good times and the bad.
As you pray and fast today, meditate on this verse from Psalm 73:26: “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
May God always supply our every need as we seek His Will and chase after all He has for us!
-Chad Boak, Creative Pastor