Friday, November 5, 2010

Spiritual Hobby-Horses

We all have spiritual hobby horses.  Those things that bother us in the Church and if you get us talking about them we could go on for hours and hours.  We have it in our minds that if the Church just got this ONE thing right then it would be healthy and grow.  We beat up our pastors because they don't preach on this enough, and we think that it should be stressed every Sunday morning, and night, and Tuesday, and Wednesday, and Thursday, and maybe even send out an email Saturday night before the service to remind everyone.
For some it's evangelism, for some it's prayer, for some it's service, for some it's worship, and the list goes on and on.
I have my hobby horses too, things that I think the Church needs, and I constantly have to fight these things.  It can make preaching or preparing worship services difficult, because every pastor has to fight the urge to get up front every Sunday and say the same thing over and over because if people could just get past this one thing then everything would be all better.
I believe that this is the benefit of being guided by the Bible, of preaching straight through a book, or having a schedule of Scripture that guides worship planning, because it protects us from just emphasizing what we desire and see.  As we teach through Scripture and read through Scripture, through ALL of it, we start to see God's hobby horses.  We start to see that these things that we thought were so important are rarely mentioned in Scripture.  While they are important to God, maybe they're not the MOST important to God.  I think that this makes reading through whole books of the Bible and striving to read through ALL of the books of the Bible consistently is a good practice.  It tunes our hearts and our minds to the will of God and allows us to see what God considers important and the hobby horses that He stresses.
So, if your pastor preaches through books of the Bible, maybe you should be less critical of the topics that he preaches on.  Maybe instead of telling him to stress things that he isn't stressing you should look into your own heart and see if you are out of balance.  Maybe you should try a little harder to get off of your hobby horse and get onto God's hobby horse, the gospel.  Because you can't read anywhere in the Bible too long without running across the fact that we are guilty sinners in the hands of a great God who has taken away all of our guilt and shame and pronounced us holy and blameless on the basis of His works rather than our own so that we can now live by His Spirit and in His righteousness by His grace.  The gospel rings out loud and clear from every page of Scripture and is the hobby horse with which God addresses all other things.
Stop emphasizing worship, or prayer, or service, and start emphasizing the gospel in your own life, and then see how God uses you in others lives to accomplish the same.
And if your pastor doesn't preach through books of the Bible, if he consistently teaches the gospel more than all other things, maybe you should write an email, or get on the phone, or drive over to his office, and thank him for all the hard works he does, because trust me, it takes much work for him to get off of his hobby horses each week and present you with the truth of God's word.  Instead of trying to get him onto your hobby horse, take time to thank him for presenting God's hobby horse.

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