Tuesday, January 6, 2015
EX-NIHILO Something Out of Nothing
Thank God for another year. 7th winter here in South Bend at the Macedonia Church and I thank God for the journey. Very light year of snow so far, only 21.8 inches of snow. I am expecting that total to double by the end of this month.
Wonderful Sunday of church worship. I must admit I wish all of our churches worshiped every Sunday they way we worship on the first Sunday of the year. After all, God is good 52 Sundays of the year not just the first one. Either way, it gives us as pastors an opportunity to keep finding ways to keep the fire hot within our own buildings.
Normally, I preach our church theme for the year but I was led to Genesis 1:1-8 for this New Years sermon. The Lord blessed His idea that He allowed me to preach of "Ex-Nihilo: Something out of Nothing".
I must admit that lately one comment that the enemy has sent my way from people in the church and outside of the church has bothered me. It really isn't that bad of a comment as negative statements go but for some reason it has really crawled up my skin.
You can call me mule headed, stubborn, unyielding and I would just say YEP, you right!
You can say Pastor is mean and not friendly enough, I would say Guilty as charged.
You can say Pastor is a picky eater and doesn't eat everyone's food, AMEN So Be It!
Pastor isn't as good of a preacher as Pastor so and so or Bishop Almighty and I would be the first to admit it that is probably true.
Then I would thank God for His Grace and Mercy that sustains me and His Love that covers a Multitude of Sins and count myself as privileged that God still called and equipped me into this gospel ministry.
So if those comments didn't set me off, what did? OK I am embarrassed to say but I will.
You ain't nothing! That's it. I know, doesn't sound like much. It really isn't but man, this has worked on me!
" You ain't Nothing". Your Church ain't nothing, your people ain't nothing. You have a little money in the bank but that's nothing. Yes you paid off the debt total you inherited but that's nothing, Yes your church is growing but compared to so and so that's nothing.
The word Nothing festered in my craw like a rock in your shoe that finds your arch every time you step. It wouldn't leave me alone. I began to have the attack of I wanna be somebody, I wanna be something. I AM somebody, I AM SOMETHING. I'll show them. I make it bigger and brighter. We will become stronger and powerful..
It took the wisdom of an older Pastor to prevent me from train wrecking my ministry over some mess. I told him how I felt and he simply said, "Wow what a blessing"! Excuse me, I just told you they said I'm nothing, my church is nothing, my God-given people are nothing our money and clout are nothing. He looked at me again and said WHAT A BLESSING.
He would later explain, God does his best work out of nothing. EX_NIHILO- Something out of Nothing, BARA out of nothing, not working with something but working with nothing God creates masterpieces.
Could it be that the problem with many Pastors and Parishioners, many members and ministries, many saints and sinners is we believe we have already arrived. We are already something. We are all of that, after all, look at my preaching itinerary, look at my building and grounds, look at my members and my bank account, listen to me preach and teach, look at me sing and shout. I AM SOMETHING I AM SOMEBODY.
But in reality, we are nothing. Filthy rags at best, but nothing. A shiny penny, still nothing!. A crumpled up, torn in half dollar, NOTHING.
There is the blessing, instead of God waiting for us to try and become something on our own, God saved us from that! He stepped out on nothing. He worked in nothing. He creates out of nothing. He is not intimidated by our nothingness. It is His canvas board to create the work of art this world is and we are.
Martin Luther said it better than I can:
GOD CREATES OUT OF NOTHING! THEREFORE, UNTIL A MAN IS NOTHING, GOD CAN MAKE NOTHING OUT OF HIM!
EMBRACE YOU NOTHING, GOD CREATES OUT OF NOTHING!