Archives for 11.9.06

on an unsatisfactory sermon

I am sure the other preachers out there know what I am talking about. The sermon that looks golden in the study and tastes like sawdust in the mouth. Wednesday night was one of those.

The topic was excellent, the material superb (it is the Word of God!), the content was orthodox and the delivery was dry. Ashes, ashes, ashes… Perhaps this comes of depending too much on the intellect and not enough on the Spirit.

At any rate, our through the New Testament series took us to the last three chapters of the book of James for a summary type message. I chose the text Jas 3.13-18, the passage on ‘the wisdom from above‘ to summarize the whole. The main concept of the message was that James (and the Lord) wants us to really live our testimony of wisdom and understanding – ‘Who is wise and understanding among you?’ Show your wisdom! The message is that the disciple of long standing ought to be wise. He ought to be understanding (a word that implies expertise as the result of long experience.) So why the trouble with the tongue? (3.1-12) Why the trouble with quarrels and strife? (4.1-12) Why the boastfulness? (4.13-17) Why the greed? (5.1-6) Replace it with the wisdom from above, patient endurance, fervent prayer, concern for others (5.7-20). Live your wisdom, just as James urges us to live your faith in ch. 1-2.

I don’t know why excellent material sometimes seems like such dry technical sawdust in the mouth. In the dead of the rainy winter here, I frequently feel this way, though I don’t often preach this way. May God help us depend only on his Spirit for power in the pulpit! Get self out of the way and let our dear Lord be seen.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

on an opportunity to rejoice with them that rejoice

And that would be me, my wife, and starvin’ kids.

Well, they’re not ‘starvin’, but three of them are in University. The adjective just sounded good.

Almost two years ago I purchased a duplex for the purpose of subdividing it into two titles and reselling it. Along the way the place would need extensive renovation. I little knew how extensive it would be. My projected six month job stretched into two years. One little surprise for me was waiting in the crawlspace – six inches of standing water, i.e., drainage problems. So we hired a contractor to dig up the sidewalks and decks and install new perimeter drains. The city also ended up requiring me to remove the old firewall in the crawlspace and install new, cover the floor of the crawl space in 6 mm poly, and install a sump pump on each side. I think we have the drainage problem as licked as it is going to get.

I had to install exhaust fans in the bathrooms (4 of them), upgrade the insulation in the attic to R-35 value, install gable vents and ‘whirlybird’ vents in the roof. In the renovated side we replaced all bathroom fixtures, the kitchen cabinets, all the flooring and painted. We put ‘click’ flooring in the family room and dining room. We build two decks. And on and on… I am sure there are other smaller things, and of course fixing our mistakes too! (I recall ruining one of my interior doors by shortening it too much!)

All in all, many hours were spent on this project, working a day or two a week for about a year and a half.

Last Wednesday, the city gave me approval for the subdivision. I put the sign in the lawn. Came down for prayer meeting. One of my men prayed that the pastor would get a quick sale. We walked out of our meeting room and my phone rang. The next night I had a written offer from a nice young couple – Christians, it turns out. Today before supper they called to let me know the financing has been approved and everything is unconditional now!

I spent eighteen years all told as a realtor. I have never had a sale happen that easily! Praise the Lord for his grace and goodness.

Don Johnson
Jer 33.3