…you, then that teach others, will you not teach yourselves? Romans 2:12-24 Almost every sermon I’ve written, is out of my experience. I remember the first time I preached and realized that I was preaching to myself. I couldn’t help but wonder about all the times my parents “preached” to me out of their experiences and it was quite possible that they really weren’t just making stuff up as they went along. I always said there are things I would never do in the way my parents did with me. I now know that it didn’t matter that I wanted to do things differently. In the same way my parents taught me out of their experience I would have to teach out my own experiences. Now I see every day lived as an opportunity, teaching moments for us to encourage our selves and one another simply by sharing experiences.
‘It is only by Beelzebul, the ruler of the demons, that this fellow casts out the demons.’ Matthew 12:22-32 When someone criticizes another for doing or being something positive, my young friends call that person a “hater.” I remember some years ago the first time I heard the term and it got me thinking about the many facets of hate. I’d always thought of it in terms of prejudice or bigotry which can be quite blatant and deep seeded. I realized in a competitive world, such as ours, even in believers, hate can be displayed in more simplistic forms like discouraging words or disrespecting people who are not like us. It becomes like an inside job that divides us and fools us into thinking that if it is not behavior with a strong aversion or intense passionate dislike, that it is not hate, but rather just a difference in perception or even judgment. Perhaps herein lies the problem. We focus to much on our own perception rather than God. I don’t believe God created us to be “haters”. He gives us gifts to encourage and build up one another. Let us use those gifts according to God’s will and to the glory of his name and not be a body divided against itself.