Dec 9, 2013
In this week’s PODCAST, I am going to take a great big risk and tell you a personal story. A story that I have on rare occasions shared with individuals. But this will be the first time I’ve ever told this story in a public setting.
I tell this story for a number of reasons.
First, of course, because it goes right to the heart of this podcast’s passage. It illustrates precisely the issue to which Jesus was referring here in Matthew 5:33-37, a subject of monumental importance as far as Jesus’ teaching was concerned.
Second, because it gives to you a bit of personal context, a piece of the portrait of my life within which my teaching takes place.
Third, because if the old adage is true -- Like pastor, like people -- or as the OT puts it, “Like people, like priest” (Hosea 4:9), then this explains why there has evolved a pandemic of phoniness in our churches.
Fourth, because this became a defining moment in my life and ministry. It cemented for me an approach to ministry, an approach to life, for which, over the years, I have paid a hefty personal price. And for which I continue to pay a hefty price.
Fifth, because this was one of the most disillusioning experiences of my life, and sent me reeling in terms of my faith. I would not be overstating the case to suggest that it prompted a crisis of faith, not to mention cemented for me what was becoming my perception of the Christian life and church life as a game people play.
Sixth: This story perfectly frames Jesus’ concerns as He addressed them here in His Sermon on the Mount.
We have much to learn together.
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