For our annual Christmas program, I was to bring a brief message. The program lasted well over an hour before my time came, and it was wonderful — piano, banjo, saxophone, flute, guitars; songs, recitals; little tiny kids and adults. Really great.
I'd puzzled and pondered on what to bring. Such events bring believers and unbelievers. We have many such events at which I'm asked to speak; and I know unbelieving friends and relatives are there. So I invariably preach the Gospel as pointedly, plainly and powerfully as I know how. And, to date, there has not been one conversion or even further contact from these events. This is a matter of intense, ongoing prayer for me, and I do all I can to urge my dear ones here at our church to do the same.
That said, I had no interest in offering a soothing, tranquilizing, boilerplate intonation of familiar imagery. So I took a different approach on a familiar passage. I focused on Matthew 2, but announced my topic is "How NOT to Find Jesus."
I'll do for you what I never do. These are my preaching notes:
- That unbelievers present for this message find themselves unable to put it out of their mind, their thoughts turned to Christ afresh by the Holy Spirit
- For the power of the preached Word in our church
- For God to use His Gospel as His power for salvation, converting and redeeming the lost in our ministry