I remember the first time I was asked to deliver the sermon at our church. What an awesome responsibility! The week before I worked on a text, thinking and rereading, trying to find a way to present a message whose application would have meaning and relevance. The words of the text mean so much to me, but how would I connect my thoughts with words for the, those people sitting before me, and how do I give them hope and trust? The answer is I can’t. My words are powerless to convince or explain. I do the work, prepare the outline, go over the message silently in my mind, and then submit it to God’s will, trusting the Holy Spirit will speak through me. Each time I step into the pulpit my prayer will be what it is every day, “Please, God, make me an instrument of your love. Speak through my words and shape them for your purpose. Eliminate all that is human dross and use me to bring your gifts to others. Amen.”

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