Monday, April 19, 2010

Doing the Dishes and Preaching a Sermon

Two Sundays ago, I preached my first "behind-a-pulpit" sermon in three years at my church. The sermon can be found here. Anyway, during my sermon I made the comment that when I go out at night with the guys at Herb's or Starbucks to talk about life and the Gospel, etc., we wait until 8:30 pm so we can help our wives with the dishes before leaving. That comment generated incredibly positive feedback from a few women and I got a few "my wife apppreciated the part where you talked about doing the dishes ..." comments. Not what I expected as the biggest takeaway from my sermon.

Anyway, the sermon describes how we got here (Cleveland-ish) and what we're doing in terms of ministry in our town. In a pre-sermon interview (not recorded), I cleared up a couple misconceptions:

1.) The national Evangelical Free Church Planting (EFCA) branch has a saying: "All kinds of churches for all kinds of people."
2.) This means that the Free Church generally and Providence Church specifically supports this idea.
3.) Therefore, Jason and Janeen Oesterling (who preached at the church a couple years ago - I met him once) is planting one kind of church in Medina, Ohio, John and Kristine Meaux are planning to plant a church in the next year or so somewhere in the greater Cuyahoga county area, and Naomi and I have "landed" in our neighborhood to do Gospel ministry (more on that in the sermon or by perusing this blog).
4.) This clarification was necessary due to a.) plans changing and b.) people getting confused as to who was planting a church with who!

In any case, enjoy the semon, if you wish to do so.


  1. I will listen tonight and I know I will not be disappointed I have heard you preach before. You know the Grace of God . And because you knew it so do I now. Dad

  2. That was a delight to listen to as of course it very much resonated with us and our philosophy of ministry, but you communicated those principles so clearly. We really look forward to meeting you guys this summer!

  3. I need to listen to your (Brian's) message from last year. I was there that day, but came in late ... I'm sure a kid was sick or something ... look forward to meeting you guys this summer, too. I'm guessing you'll have somewhere to stay, but if you don't ... our home is always available.

  4. Finally took the opportunity to listen, Matt. Great, challenging message. I especially liked the idea from the book, The Gospel-Centered Church (?), about imagining how you would approach planting the Gospel in a community or nation far from you, and then examining why you are not doing that where you live right now. Having lived in the same neighborhood for almost twenty years now and having made only a few small attempts with my neighbors, I confess it feels a little too late for me to start here. I love the idea, though, and wish I could find others in my neighborhood that have the same desire. I will say that God HAS used me in the lives of a few neighbors; I guess I just need to keep my eyes open and my spirit praying for the little opportunities and keep taking baby steps.

  5. Dawne - There were so many illustrations, etc. I wasn't able to give in the length of the sermon ... but I'm glad to see you're application was my aim for people in your position (though, you weren't in my mind, as you weren't in my audience for the prep.) ... one thing I might've mentioned is the family in our group in our 'hood who don't like to have their home open personally, but love to come to our home and mingle when we have people over, etc. That's as it should be. Every member playing their role. Not every member doing exactly the same thing. In fact, my final illustration that I had to cut was just that.

  6. Yep, that's me. For various reasons, it is hard to have people in my home, but I love mingling and being hospitable in other venues. Thanks for adding your voice to the others I've been hearing lately that are showing me freedom in this. I was part of a conversation at Trinity recently in which Dr. Christine Pohl from Asbury Seminary spoke about her book, "Making Room: Recovering Hospitality as a Christian Tradition." It helped me understand hospitality in a different way and freed me from the narrow definition I had put upon it.

  7. In a nutshell re: hospitality (and this is "culturally conditioned" ... looks different in different places) ... it does not mean bringing out the China and making the house spotless (though there can be times for that) ... it more often means pulling out the Corel dishes, getting a few things ready, but then inviting others to treat your home as their own (get your own drinks out, etc.) ... and in the church family, hospitality can look like (and I speak only for me and Naomi here) treating our home as the home of our fellow family (believers) members and inviting them to use our home (when we're there, of course) to be hospitable to others ...