Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: At the Pulpit (11/15/07)
TITLE: Behind the Man Behind the Pulpit
By Nathan Perkins
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He lifted his head to look at the crowd before him. “Let’s pray.”
He bowed his head and paused for a long time. Then he broke the silence with an abrupt shout. “Touch… touch us o, God.”
Again, he paused, seemingly for effect. The hearts of the congregants were stirred as they sensed the pastor’s emotion.
He continued “Lord, we thank you for the way that you have touched us in the past. We ask you to touch us again. Amen.”
He immediately entered his sermon “Today’s text is from II Corinthians chapter 4. It tells us to keep our eyes fixed on what we can not see…”
It took him 15 minutes to complete the sermon and he stopped three or four times very dramatically, as if to find his place.
Pastor B hardly made it to the stage. It looked as if his shoes were full of lead. Slowly and using the pulpit as a crutch he bent his head slightly and closed his eyes, as if in silent prayer. Then he spoke to God just barely above a whisper. “Lord, touch us today. Thank you for the ways that you’ve touched us in the past. We ask you to touch us again. Amen.”
The congregants settled, sensing a lack of passion and deducing this would be a long and drawn out message.
After looking across the auditorium Pastor B slowly introduced the message and droned on “Today’s text is from II Corinthians chapter 4. It tells us to keep our eyes fixed on what we can’t see…”
All the words from Pastor B’s message were the same as what Pastor A was preaching, yet the congregation did not see passion nor did they feel inspired.
The person who rightly heeded the message of the day would have a bigger picture that included the validity of the words that were being presented. There is more then what the eye can see.
Behind the pulpit of Pastor A, was a football fan that had neglected his sermon preparation. Luckily he found a sermon online. He read through the pages several times and enlarged it so that he could easily read it on the day of presentation.
Next he contemplated how he could see his favorite team play that Sunday morning, exactly when he was supposed to preach.
It struck him that he had a nine inch television set that would fit nicely behind the pulpit. He could keep tabs on the game, while he was preaching.
So he preached a borrowed sermon about fixing your eyes on things that you can not see while watching a football on a screen concealed behind the pulpit. The congregation translated his distraction and the pausing that he did while checking on the progress of the game as dramatic effect.
His team scored early. Out of instinct he almost yelled “touch down.” He pretended that he was just praying the words “Touch…touch us, o Lord.”
Behind the pulpit of Pastor B was a cup of water and a box of tissue. He wrote this sermon a week in advance and posted it on the web so that the shut-ins could read it.
Pastor B’s preparation to present was lacking though. Supporting his family with a second job, he worked extra hours so he could afford to fix the furnace in his house.
On Friday, Pastor B got word Widow Jenkins was in the hospital again with pneumonia.
After his second job on Saturday, Pastor B drove to the hospital where he would find that Widow Jenkins’ condition had worsened. He stayed late to console and support the family through their grief.
As he drove home, against a late night, he prayed for God’s help and tried to force his worn out brain to remember the sermon that he had written just a few weeks ago.
“Fix your eyes on things that you can not see.”
After reaching home he dropped into his bed exhausted. It was just a few hours before he was to be in the pulpit to preach.
Pray for your pastor. There may be so much more then can be seen with earthly eyes behind the man behind the pulpit.
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