Report for Homiletics (preaching) Class


This is an excerpt from my book, "Just Me: Humorous, Helpful & Odd." It is a fictional piece about preaching for the first time.  

Report for My Homiletics Class

A record of my assignment to preach for my church back home over Thanksgiving break

Ever since my pastor had asked me to fill the pulpit because he was going to be out of town over Thanksgiving, The upcoming message insisted on my attention and dominated my prayer life up to this point. I had to fulfill the assignment for homiletics class to preach for a church over the holiday break. What do I preach to people who know me, especially my family?
Doomsday eventually arrived. I had prepared my message, proofed it and polished it. Yet, I couldn’t convince myself that I was ready.  During the song service the butterflies fluttered ruthlessly throughout my entire abdomen, not just my stomach.  My sweat glands functioned over abundantly by saturating my clothing. No matter how hot I felt, I knew I could not remove my jacket during the message without revealing wet armpits. Each congregational song, each announcement, each “special” sung by the choir and individuals, just marked time toward the inevitable, the indescribable, the excruciating moment when I would have to open my mouth and utter something beneficial for these people – this assembly who would be expecting something fantastic from a college student - and some might even take notes!
The assistant pastor introduced me - my time had come.  My nerves had been snapping one by one. When he mentioned my name, a flurry of nerve destruction occurred, leaving only one nerve between a nervous breakdown and me.  As he talked, the words became indiscernible vocalizations like the sounds Charlie Brown’s teacher made in the television shows. All too quickly, he finished and invited me to the pulpit to preach. I wondered if my ability to walk would fail and I would fall on my face as I stepped up onto the platform. Had anyone ever actually died of embarrassment? No, probably not, embarrassment just maimed, mutilated and marred their mind until they melted into a mound of mush. As I made my way to the podium, I pictured myself living in a padded room hidden from society, never to be heard from again.
Suddenly, I found myself behind on the platform. I placed my Bible on the pulpit and opened it, knowing that I would have to look up at those faces – all those faces expecting profundity. I tried to think of a joke to set the audience at ease, but I couldn’t remember where I put my memory.  I took out my notes. The paper amplified my shaking hands by making a loud rattling sound. I forced myself to look up at the people.  I tried to talk, but nothing happened.  I had never realized how loud silence could be! I want to say that I spit out something, but I didn’t have enough saliva to do so.  I learned why preachers want a glass of water when they preach.
I turned my gaze to my notes and stared at them.  Have you ever experienced the uneasy feeling that someone is watching you?  Amplify that by one hundred.  One hundred?  That equals two hundred eyes; no wonder uneasiness prevailed! I told myself to stop thinking and start reading.  As I struggled to find the first page, I realized that putting page numbers on my message would have been a good idea. 
Once I started and discovered that the audience was interested and attentive, my uneasiness - persisted.  I picked out one person to preach to, but she fell asleep.  That irritated me. I preached louder and she woke up.  At that point, I realized that I was preaching!  The liveliest, most animated preacher was bounding about - on the inside, while on the outside I sounded as excited as my eighth grade accounting teacher (I know because I listened to the CD afterward).
Somehow I reached the end of my message.  Did I preach too fast due to nerves? Did I actually preach the entire thing?  Did I go overtime? I knew I had bombed.  I wanted to sneak out the side door without talking to anybody, but I still needed to conduct the invitation (a common procedure in Baptist services). This meant applying the point of the message to the individual and inviting them to the front altar to spend time with God in prayer.
How do I give an invitation?  I hadn’t written out my invitation. I figured that would be a no-brainer, but I couldn’t remember what to say. Good night, how many times have I heard Pastor and preachers at my college give an invitation?  The flutterbies returned.  I stuttered and stammered something and let the vocalist sing.  I wanted to cry.  I wanted to hide. I wanted to die - until I looked up. People had come to the altar! How did that happen?


Then I realized it wasn’t me; it was God! 

New Website Notice

The old ifbkjv.com was purchased by someone who is pointing it to a site with Catholic links. I did attempt to get it back, but they want 2000 dollars. Insane. So, I am instead changing the URL and name from IFBKJV to www.KJVIFB.com. Please change your codes or buttons to point to this url. It will work correctly with that change, and I apologize for the extra work.

OPEN AGAIN!

This blog has been on hiatus for a while when the domain expired. The new domain is KJVIFB.com. Thank you for your patience! There are many things that lead to the break: I was working more as a church secretary, I did not have the cash to renew the domain (this costs money to run, but I pay it myself), I wasn't homeschooling (I am now, again)...but we are up and running again. I'm happy to have it working. I like parking things here to read, and I encourage all of our bloggers to freely post here as well. If you are an independent, fundamental Baptist and you wish to either join the blog roll, or become a contributing author here (you can repost your entries), please email me at KJVRoberts@gmail.com. Thanks and God bless! JTR
 
A Different Kind of Thanksgiving List
~ by Jane Coley
 
I’m thankful to know affliction... for without it, my spirit would not strive for more.
~ "It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes."
Psalm 119:71
 
I’m thankful to know sorrow... for without it, my heart would not know the depth of joy.
~ "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy."
Psalm 126:5
 
I’m thankful to know the disappointments of friendships... for without it, I would miss the value of a true friend.
~ "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."
Proverbs 27:17
 
I’m thankful to know financial struggles... for without it, I would waste so much.
~ "Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the Lord? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain."
Proverbs 30:8, 9
    
I’m thankful to know physical pain... for without it, my attention would not be drawn to the suffering of others.
~ "Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
II Corinthians 1:4
 
I’m thankful to know conviction... for without it, I would not know redemption.
~ "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" 
 Ephesians 1:7
 
I’m thankful to know these things...
I’m thankful these things "visit" me...
I’m thankful they don’t stay long.
 
 

Points to Ponder ~ Sarah

Sarah... was first known as Sarai before God changed her name. This name change for Sarah and Abraham (Abram) commemorated the covenant God had made with them, and initiated the beginning of the Jewish Nation; the Nation of Israel. Sarah and Abraham were the first Jews. (Genesis 17:1-11, 15, 16)

Another point to ponder... Not only were Sarah and Abraham husband and wife, but they were also half brother and sister, having the same father. In today’s society this is a repulsive idea but ancient times recorded this as a normal occurrence. My husband and I were married in 1978 in a state that required both a blood test and a 3-day waiting period. When I asked the reason for the blood test, the answer we were given was... to provided evidence that we were not blood relatives. So it seems that even the recent history of our state still indicated a need for that sort of clarification, before a couple would be granted a marriage licence.

Sarah and Abraham’s relationship stands out as a remarkable testimony. There are no other Bible characters more in love, and trusting of each other, than Sarah and Abraham. Though there were reasons for them to play the "blame game", Sarah and Abraham never did. Their commitment to each other was the foundation of their successful spiritual growth. Their spiritual journey presented challenges for them as much as their wilderness wanderings did.

Hebrews 11:8-11 "By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised."

A point to ponder... When they journeyed into strange lands, some take issue with Abraham and consider him a coward for having Sarah say she was his sister. However, it was typical for beautiful women to be "collected" and kept as potential wives by their captors. Esther, for example, was "collected" and went through a purification process that lasted 12 months. (Esther 2:2-9, 12)

Genesis 12:10-13 "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter Egypt, that he said unto Sarai is wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon: Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee."
Genesis 20:12, 13 "And yet indeed she is my sister; she is the daughter of my father, but not the daughter of my mother; and she became my wife. And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother."

For her beauty, kings would kill a husband... but they would give gifts to her brother. When Abraham and Sarah agreed together to say, "she is my sister" this half-truth was a strategic plan of wisdom more then it was a cowardly evasion.

This plan allowed the process of time for these "captors of beautiful women" to understand the might of Abraham’s God. Abraham sojourned by God’s command, and it was therefore God’s protection that went before them. The Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, and again, twenty years later, Abimelech was also witness to the mighty strength of Abraham’s God. (Genesis 12:17; 20:1-7) Never, at any time, did God reprimand Abraham for this.


Genesis 12:3 "And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."

Sarah’s Barrenness, A Spiritual Challenge. ~ Even in today’s society, couples struggling with infertility problems face many private heartaches and heartbreaks that many of us, unless infertile ourselves, cannot even fathom. Then, there are the painful remarks made by well-meaning onlookers who neglect to consider that their greatest kindness would be to remain silent on this private topic. Many couples struggling with infertility choose to "weather this storm of life" and face their barrenness together. But, in Sarah’s time, getting a baby was as easy as telling your husband to take another wife, which Sarah did... and which lead to their greatest spiritual challenge.

It was Sarah who made the suggestion for Abraham to take Hagar, her handmaid, and it was Abraham who agreed. Forgoing God and making this impetuous wrong decision together meant they would also face the consequences together.

Their Remarkable Relationship. ~ This couple was supportive of each other and they didn’t waste their time with accusations against one another, even when they made wrong decisions. They chose to "weather the storms of life" and they were "together" in every aspect of the word. You don’t see a domineering overbearing husband, and you don’t see a subdued cowering wife. You see a husband and wife balanced in their relationship with equal submission to one another, very like-minded in their thoughts and actions, not condemning, not blaming... "together".

I Peter 3: 5-7 "For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

When they had disagreements, they talked with each other. And, when it seemed they could not come to terms, they took it to the Lord.

Genesis 16:5 "And Sarai said unto Abram,... ...the Lord judge between me and thee."
Genesis 21:9-14 (vs. 12) "And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called."

The Balance. ~ Sarah and Abraham exemplified the balance of male leadership with female submission. This was never to be a grievous thing. God’s plan for leadership is that it is to be male. Leadership is responsible for those they lead, and leadership is always accountable to God for the outcome... good, bad, or ugly, male leadership answers for it all. He is not "the boss" as much as he is "the responsible party" and all accountability rests on his shoulders. This is what Sarah was acknowledging when she says, "My wrong be upon thee..." in Genesis 16:5.

Numbers 30:14-16 "But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity. These are the statues, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house."


The imbalance of this teaching has made it a grievous topic for women because they see themselves as having to submit to the wants and wishes of male domination without consideration; it’s his way or it’s not submission, is the lesson women get. The balance of God’s plan is not grievous.

The balance of female submission is male leadership. The truth of Ephesians 5:21-33 is that if more husbands were the right kind of leader, as the example of Christ with the church, wives would be more inclined to submit. Husbands having trouble with their wives might want to examine how they are leading, instead of focusing on how she’s not submitting.

Ephesians 5:25-27 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

When God’s plan of submission and leadership, for a husband and wife, becomes grievous... it is because there are secrets between the couple. Secrets cause mistrust, and mistrust is the key element that erodes the balance in God’s plan. Submission is easy, when you can trust the one you are submitting to.

When leadership becomes manipulative, it is no longer leadership, it has become a dictatorship. Leadership, to be successful, must lead with loving trust. This is the relationship Sarah and Abraham exemplified. They always lovingly trusted each other and weathered the storms of life together.

(Additional Bible References for Sarah: Genesis 11:27 through to 13:4; chapters 15:1 through to 17:22; chapter 18:1-15; chapters 20:1 through to 21:1-13; chapters 23; 24:36-38, 64-67; 25:7-12; and 49:31; Isaiah 51:2; Romans 4:18-22; and 9:6-9; Hebrews 11:8-19; I Peter 3:1-6)

Points to Ponder ~ Eve

I’m starting this new series, Points to Ponder, to share with you some of the things I have pondered while I’ve studied women in the Bible. Perhaps my ponderings will be interesting to you... or perhaps it will stir some ponderings of your own. Either way, I thank you for visiting my blog, and I welcome your comments.
 
 

Eve... some blame her for sin entering the world, after all, she took the first bite of the forbidden fruit. But, did you know, God did not place this condemnation on her shoulders? The blame for sin entering the world is placed, by God, on the shoulders of Adam.
Romans 5:12 "Wherefore, as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Romans 5:19 "For as by one man’s (Adam’s) disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one (Christ) shall many be made righteous.
I Corinthians 15:21, 22 "For since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."

Eve was not without her part in all this, though. She was "beguiled" (II Corinthians 11:3), "deceived," and that put her "in the transgression" (I Timothy 2:14)... an "accessary to the fact" might be the legal term used today, if her case were to be tried in a court of law. And, for argument’s sake, and in defense of herself, Eve could give evidence that she was not even present when God gave the commandment to Adam to not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil... and she wasn’t. God’s commandment to Adam was given in Genesis 2:17, but Eve’s creation did not take place until Genesis 2:22.


From bite... to bite. ~ I’ve imagined the happenings in that brief moment of time between Eve’s first bite of the forbidden fruit, to Adam’s first bite. In that brief moment - from bite to bite - no doubt Eve as enjoying the taste of the fruit. Perhaps she thought about how nothing was happening... no thunderbolt from the sky... no loud voice from heaven condemning her actions... nothing but the pure enjoyment of delicious fruit. But deception creeps in slowly... and it was taking it’s hold on her heart. Convinced that this fruit was a good thing, pleasant in every way, and with the added benefit "to make one wise." Eve was fully enthralled in this adventure of a lifetime... and she felt good. Passing the fruit to Adam, her conscience was clear... watching him reach out to take it from her hand made her excited... waiting to see the enjoyment on his face when he would taste it’s delicious flavor made her giddy with anticipation. Then it happened... I don’t think Adam even had the opportunity to know the flavor of that fruit before he knew the depth of despair. Their eyes were now open... their hearts were now heavy with guilt... and they hid themselves, trying to hide from the shame that overwhelmed them. Still no thunderbolt... no loud condemnation... but there was a Voice calling... "Adam. Where art thou?".


Another point to ponder is that God made Adam both responsible and accountable for his watch-care over his wife, Eve. Doesn’t hardly seem fair, does it? That she could do wrong but her husband was to give answer for it. Eve didn’t escape the consequences of her actions, but, going back to the story, it is significant that our omniscient God called first to Adam, and then for Adam to give an answer for what had happened in the Garden of Eden. Eve took the first bite, she was in the transgression, but Adam was answerable to God for what had happened.


From the very beginning, God’s plan has always been for mankind to be responsible and accountable for the protection and provision of womankind. Even to the extent of bearing her iniquity, as it is taught in Numbers chapter 30.
Numbers 30:14, 15, 16 "But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity. These are the statues, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her your in her father’s house."

This is not only true for the husband and wife relationship, but it is also true for the father and daughter relationship, as well. Which gives an explanation as to why a father "gives away" his daughter, the bride, during the marriage ceremony. The father is symbolically transferring his father’s responsibility to the new husband.

Help Meet. ~ God gave Adam an help meet in his wife, Eve. Contrary to many cultures, this does not mean woman was given to be a work mate, a slave, or a servant to man. Of all that God had created, the only thing God said was not good of His creation, was that Adam was alone. Adam alone meant Adam had needs that only a perfectly matched mate could complement.

Genesis 2:18 "And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him."

It took Adam a little while before he figured out what this being alone was all about... he gave names to all the animals before it dawned on him. 
Genesis 2:20 "And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him."

As a point to ponder... Adam’s occupational instructions; to dress and keep the garden of Eden, and to name every living creature, were given to Adam before God had created his wife, Eve. So, it goes without saying (but needs to be said anyway), had woman been created to be a work mate, slave, or servant for man, her creation would have taken place sooner. (Genesis 2:15, 19, 20)

Adam/Man alone meant he had needs; He had no one of like-kind to interact with. He had no matching mate to bear offspring with. He had no matching mate to share his life with. Eve/Woman was perfectly created to be a compatible match for the needs God had designed in Adam/Man.


She was his gift from God that he was to watch over and care for.

(Additional Bible References for Eve: Genesis 2 and 3; 4:1, 2; II Corinthians 11:3; I Timothy 2:13, 14)