It has been a while since I updated you on the progress of the preaching project that should engage me for the next five years, since the Lilly Foundation awarded my seminary funding in order to develop my preaching ideas. Looking back, I recall initial exhilaration at this opportunity to work further....at the very time that being made an Emeritus Prof supposedly ushered in a quieter life. My broken leg sabotaged its beginning (1 year ago) and since then progress has been in fits-and-starts.
However, I am off shortly to gear up various meetings culminating in the launch Forum on October 24th.
This preparation work explains laggardly posting (and also the odd unedited first appearance of this one!) The more I look at the book that I am trying to write and the accompanying workbook the more I realize how much this new preaching project will stretch me and the participants. At the beginning of the forum I am preaching on Isaiah 43: 19: See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? It's a humbling text because God stresses that he is doing the new thing and asks are we discerning it. The back-story warns that we can so often power ahead doing things for him while entirely missing what he wanted us to do. Discernment in waiting prayer precedes God's new things. I know we have not prayed enough so my obvious concern is that this new project might miss what God truly intends. So, continuing humble discernment in order to join in with him remains the priority.
Frequently, I receive reminders of elements within the project - especially the need for a true understanding of worship in light of Rom 12: 1,2. Just last week an older musician friend of mine wrote:
BUT I can’t get used to the music teams, when they have their 2 or 3 songs in the middle, calling it “The worship time” and these are “worship songs”…what, I ask myself is the rest of the service then? Surely it is all worship –even bringing our money to offer, readings,etc. IT’s ALL WORSHIP. In truth I feel generations away from these young Christians, and, of course, I am. But we are still all One in Christ Jesus.
I look forward to letting you know how these next weeks progress!