Tuesday, March 23

But I also said, Amen.

I am still thinking of Sunday. The sermon we heard was by a visiting Pastor (who was actually part of our congregation a few years ago) and I really need to tell him (John Unger), that the words he spoke fell on my heart, and challenged me. I just realized that the last two sermons that really touched my heart were both spoken by men whose name is John. Interesting coincidence!

This past Sunday, Pastor John (from another church in the city, within our denomination) spoke from the scripture in Deuteronomy 6, as well as from the gospel of Mark 12: 28-34

I love the Deuteronomy scripture: "Hear, O Israel. The LORD our God, the LORD is one. Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength...." vs. 4-5 NIV and then in Mark 12 (verses28-34) one of the teachers of the law asked Jesus "of all the commandments, which is the most important?" to which Jesus says, "The most important one," answered Jesus, "is this: Hear, O Israel. The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbour as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these."

I love love love that scripture - actually I use this under my facebook profile where it asks "religious view". On Sunday, I just also loved listening to John's sermon. It just really resonated with my heart. The thing that made such a big impact for me is that John, regardless of where I bump into him, or hear him speak (which when I was a Pastor this happened more than lately since I have resigned) but the thing is - the John that I bump into outside of the church walls is the same John that I hear preach. And what I have heard about him (from mutual friends) just really impresses me that he is a man who walks with integrity, and who lives his faith. So, when he got up to speak, his words during that 20 minute or so sermon, just really matched his walk! (funny thing is - I had no idea how long his sermon was - it just kept me connected into each word).

At one point he said that if we take care of loving the Lord our God with all our being.... then the other commandments will just fall into place. I have been thinking a lot over the years, about what "the Lord with ALL of my being" with all my Heart. Soul. Mind. Strength. and what that "looks like" 24/7.

There were many more thoughts, but I was just challenged again in my faith, and for that I am thankful. I know that sermons are not all considered "equal" so to speak.... I am sure I delivered some that people may not have resonated with. However, for the past two Sundays, God has really spoken through these two men and I am so grateful!

John ended with a poem. He mentioned that it was not gender neutral, however it didn't really matter to me... Adrian Plass wrote it, and well - he is a guy. Honestly, the gender neutral thing doesn't really bother me (I know some people get uptight if it isn't "inclusive" language so to speak)

I have googled the poem and have copied it below. It really spoke to me. REALLY.
I think it will speak to you as well too. Enjoy. And, thank you Adrian Plass for penning your thoughts for us to be challenged and touched by.

When I Became a Christian ~ Adrian Plass

When I became a Christian I said, Lord, now fill me in,
Tell me what I’ll suffer in this world of shame and sin.
He said, your body may be killed, and left to rot and stink,
Do you still want to follow me?
I said Amen – I think.
I think Amen, Amen I think, I think I say Amen,
I’m not completely sure, can you just run through that again?
You say my body may be killed and left to rot and stink,
Well, yes, that sounds terrific, Lord, I say Amen – I think.

But, Lord, there must be other ways to follow you, I said,
I really would prefer to end up dying in my bed.
Well, yes, he said, you could put up with the sneers and scorn and spit,
Do you still want to follow me? I said Amen – a bit.
A bit Amen, Amen a bit, a bit I say Amen,
I’m not entirely sure, can we just run through that again?
You say I could put up with sneers and also scorn and spit,
Well, yes, I’ve made my mind up, and I say, Amen – a bit.

Well I sat back and thought a while, then tried a different ploy,
Now, Lord, I said, the Good book says that Christians live in joy.
That’s true he said, you need the joy to bear the pain and sorrow,
So do you want to follow me, I said, Amen – tomorrow.
Tomorrow, Lord, I’ll say it then, that’s when I’ll say Amen,
I need to get it clear, can I just run through that again?
You say that I will need the joy, to bear the pain and sorrow,
Well, yes, I think I’ve got it straight, I’ll say Amen – tomorrow.

He said, Look, I’m not asking you to spend an hour with me
A quick salvation sandwich and a cup of sanctity,
The cost is you, not half of you, but every single bit,
Now tell me, will you follow me? I said Amen – I quit.
I’m very sorry Lord I said, I’d like to follow you,
But I don’t think religion is a manly thing to do.
He said forget religion then, and think about my Son,
And tell me if you’re man enough to do what he has done.

Are you man enough to see the need, and man enough to go,
Man enough to care for those whom no one wants to know,
Man enough to say the thing that people hate to hear,
To battle through Gethsemane in loneliness and fear.
And listen! Are you man enough to stand it at the end,
The moment of betrayal by the kisses of a friend,
Are you man enough to hold your tongue, and man enough to cry?
When nails break your body-are you man enough to die?
Man enough to take the pain, and wear it like a crown,
Man enough to love the world and turn it upside down,
Are you man enough to follow me, I ask you once again?
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said Amen.

Amen, Amen, Amen, Amen; Amen, Amen, Amen,
I said, Oh Lord, I’m frightened, but I also said, Amen.

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