- Is there any recognition, respect or approval that someone can give me that will make me feel valued?
- Is there anything that I can achieve that will make me feel more valued by, and important to, God?
- Is there any height of ministry effectiveness that will make me feel like my life was significant?
- Is there any activity that I feel is wasting my time?
- Is it enough for me to be faithful if that meant being unknown and with little fruit?
- Do I behave differently towards someone that has influence in Christian circles?
- Do I desire to be useful to God, more than seeking God?
- Do I aspire to be respected for my gifting, more than aspiring to glorify the Giver?
- Do I aspire to sharing in the sufferings of Christ or becoming well respected by my peers?
- Do I rejoice in the ministry of others, even when I can see holes in their arguments?
- Am I spending more time face down before God than stood up before an audience?
- When I am old(er) and looking back on my life, what would make me feel satisfied?
- There is nothing I can do that can make God love me more, or less.
- God is more concerned with who we are before him, than what we do for him.
- There is no activity that is not holy, when done for the glory of God.
- That personal godliness is better than powerful gifting.
- That effectiveness for God is not based upon the amount of time we spend in the pulpit.
- That there will always be some people who will like your ministry and others will not.
- Truly effective service is based on what our Master thinks of us, rather than whether our name will be remembered.
- That the most important audience are those that hear the daily sermon we preach as we share our lives over meals, walks and bedtime stories (ie our children).
- That God tests each of our hearts at some point in our life to see if we will take some of the glory for ourselves.
- That if we found more of our security, love, acceptance, and value in God, we would be less concerned about what other people thought of us.
- That every sermon is a sacrifice of praise to God, to be given to him as a pleasing aroma without lifting us up to pride, or casting us down to despair.
Nuff said. Time for some sober self-reflection.
I recently spoke at my church on the next in my series on Elijah. This time Elijah is facing the prophets of Baal, King Ahab and the people of Israel at the top of Mount Carmel. Its a classic passage from Israel’s history and I focussed on 1) A guilty silence (ie the people who refused to respond to Eljah’s challenge for faithfulness), 2) An impotent enemy (the prophets of Baal who couldn’t get their God to show up) and finally 3) The testifying God. On this final point I spoke about how God used the method of fire from heaven to testify to his presence throughout Israel’s history, but challenged us to whether we allowed God to change his methods? I gave a brief apologetic to explain how the UK has no place for supernatural events and why believing in miracles such as these is so hard for people today. I explained how Francis Schaeffer sought to understand and explain these changes back in 1968 in his book The God Who Is There, and what that means for us today. I finished by looking at 1 Timothy 2.5+6 as Jesus is presented here as God’s final testimony – better than fire from heaven, for as God’s character is revealed so his testimony is refined. The sermon is available here as a download, or online here, and slides here.
In the evening last Sunday I preached on Elijah meeting Odadiah, the fourth in my series of Postcards from the Prophets and used this encounter to ask some questions about a Christian’s view of civil disobediance, including looking at Martin Luther King Jr and Oscar Schindler. You can access the sermon here and the slides here.
Last Sunday I preached on Elijah meeting the widow of Zarepheth from 1 Kings. It was the third in my series of Postcards from the Prophets. The sermon is available here and the slides here.
Here is the second in my series of sermons on Postcards from the Prophets, taken from Genesis 49.8-12 and Jacob’s prophecy concerning Judah.
In this message I focussed on how the final words of Jacob to his son Judah were remarkably fulfilled hundreds of years later and why this is relevant to us in the 21st century.
The slides are available here and the audio here.
After a busy start to the year I have taken a break from preaching over the last two months. From July I will be back into preaching again as I try and find the right balance between family, work and ministry commitments. So, I have added a couple of new dates to the preaching calender – https://martynlink.wordpress.com/sermons/. Hopefully I’ll be able to post these sermons once the recordings are available.
Here is a sermon I preached at Tayside Christian Fellowship on the 13th February 2011. It was the first in a series they were doing on Jesus – Saviour, Lord and King.
The sermon is titled Jesus As Saviour and was taken from Colossians 1.9-14, the audio is available here.
If you live in Scotland and want to brush up your preaching then you might want to attend Potential Preachers Workshop. Its being organised by 2 Timothy 4 trust – an organisation aimed at strengthing the quality of preaching in Scotland. I sat under the ministry of Peter Grainger for 10 years at Charlotte Chapel and can heartily recommend this workshop for anyone wanting to know how to better prepare for preaching. Even if you have a limited experience of preaching, but have a desire to preach, then this will be a great event to go to.
I also spoke in the evening of the 1st August at CBC. My evening message was an apologetic argument that unlike how many view Christianity today in the UK, it is actually a reasonable faith. The themes within this message have been brewing within me for many years and are a response to the increasing hostility that Christians experience in UK society and the corresponding crises in confidence that afflicts our churches.
The slides are available here and the sermon here.
I should point out that the sermons at CBC are simultaneously signed for the deaf – you will need to know this to explain the laughter when I question how the interpreter will handle the word “homology”.