Over the past few days, I have continued in prayer for Charleston. I want to share a portion of my response to the Charleston Church Shootings which I preached this morning at First United Methodist Church. I believe it is important and inadequate. You can find the entire sermon and manuscript online here.
Let me be clear:
God never intends us to choose evil.
The Charleston Church Shootings were not part of God’s plan.
Racism, murder and tragedy will never be God’s will.
Evil is never, ever God’s plan.
Each one of us has choices to make every day.
We choose between good and evil.
We choose between forgiveness and resentment.
We choose between light and darkness.
The choices that we make – both big and small lead us closer to God or further away from God.
Choose light and life.
Choose to follow Jesus Christ, Emmanuel – God is with us.
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14, NIV).
These words are very familiar to me. I remember hearing them before every Sunday sermon that my Dad preached. I do not remember wondering about their origin while I was growing up. I heard them as a prayer both for the congregation and for the preacher. While I don’t preach on a regular basis in my current role, I believe that this prayer from the Psalms while be part of the regular ritual when I am in a role of preaching every week.
Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to preach at the Heritage Service at Resurrection Leawood. This is the first service on Sunday at Resurrection beginning at 7:45 AM. It was the first time that I had lead worship in several months and it felt really good.
We considered the story of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples in John 13 and looked at ways that serving others builds relationships both with those being served and with those with whom we serve. We serve others out of gratitude to God and a clear hope for the future.
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to preach at 5 services at Resurrection’s Central Campus. It was a lot of fun. You can check out the manuscript at http://bit.ly/195vZu and see if I stuck to it in the video below. Enjoy!