Boy, I'm beat down. My pastor called me on Thursday of this week to tell me that he was going to have to have a wisdom tooth removed. Thankfully, I had prepared a sermon for my Ministry of Proclamation class the week before, so I had something in my back pocket. I spent my normal way-too-many-hours on Saturday between doing schoolwork, reworking my sermon for a different audience, and having some friends over for supper.
I arrived at church about 8:15 on Sunday morning in order to prep the PowerPoint with my sermon slides. From 8:30-9:30, our band (minus our preacher/drummer and his wife/pianist, plus Bart/fill-in drummer) worked out the kinks (most of them) in the music we were playing for worship. We discussed the person of Christ, specifically his eternal reign as a man, in Sunday School, and then we had a short time of prayer before the worship service began.
I preached on James 1:2-4, and tried to illustrate that we are like the hunk of steel a blacksmith forges into a useful tool. The point of the sermon was that we should have joy in our trials because we should recognize that God is shaping us into useful (fully mature) tools that he can use for his own purposes. I felt the clutch slipping quite a bit to begin the sermon; I couldn't get everything together. I felt like I was floundering! Thankfully, I started to get into a groove about half-way through, and the illustration about the blacksmith helped me pull the thing out of a steep nose-dive. God is so good; he shapes us through various trials, including preaching!
After church, we practiced the music for our Christmas service, and then several of us went out to grab something to eat. We got home about 2:30 or so, and I started working on my illustration file for my preaching class. We headed back to church at 5:00, and got home around 8:00. Heather and I talked for a while, working on a few projects that required our attention, and then I spent another hour or so on that illustration file.
So, that was my weekend. I am so tired! I hate the fact that I cannot enjoy school because of the incredible demands it places on my waking (and sleeping) hours. I hate the fact that I cannot enjoy my family the way I want to! But ultimately, I will consider this all joy, because God is working in all these various trials to bring about my full maturity; he is shaping me into a finished tool that will be useful for his purposes.
Thank you Father for working all things together for good!