Thursday, March 22, 2012

Daily Devotion for Thursday, March 22, 2012

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 30:15-18

Key Verse: Isaiah 30:15, "Therefore, the LORD God, the holy one of Israel, says: In return and rest you will be saved; quietness and trust will be your strength - but you refused."

When I was first coming before the Board of Ordained Ministry to be ordained a deacon (the old system), I was required to submit a cassette tape (what's that?) of a sermon that I had preached.  Rev. Jane Brooks was the pastor of First United Methodist Church of Watkinsville, Georgia where we attended while Sheryl and I lived in Athens.  Rev. Brooks allowed me to preach in her pulpit which was very gracious.

I told a joke and drew it out way too long (Rev. Sandy Wylie pointed out in my interview that a lot of the congregation had probably heard it - it would be better not to belabor the point).  I agreed and kind of cringe thinking about those early sermon efforts!

Here's the joke (short version):

A man was in a region undergoing flash flooding.  They decided to evacuate the area and a jeep came by his house.  He decided not to go stating, "The Lord will save me."

The waters continued to rise and he was forced to the second story of his home.  A rescue boat came by the window and tried to convince him to get in.  He wouldn't budge, telling them, "The Lord will save me."

As the waters continued to rise, he moved to the roof of his house and a helicopter came to get him out.  He yelled up at them, "Go and help someone else - the Lord will save me!"

Then he drowned in the flood.

As the man arrived before God, he was actually a little put out.  He said to God, "Lord, I trusted you!  How could you let me drown?  Why didn't you save me?"

And God answered, "Save you?  First I sent you a jeep, then I sent you a boat and finally I sent you a helicopter!  What more do you want?"

*Ba dum chhh*

Today's scripture in Isaiah really focuses on trusting God.  How do we know when to wait patiently for God's help or when to use the resources God is providing for us?  Such as the boat in the joke or the horses in verse 16?

I've always erred on the practical side and would have probably been chastised for taking a horse.  But I think the point is that some things in life are beyond our control.  If we take the horse, we'll be run down.  We like to be in charge and when things go awry, we tend to get anxious (any control freaks out there?).

I did trust in God enough to try to run that sermon by the Board of Ordained Ministry.  I guess it worked out.

Rainbow by Denis Gomes Franco, Brazil, stock.xchng

Breath prayer: Everpresent God, let me trust in you.


  1. As I go before the Board of Ordained Ministry next Monday afternoon, I think back to Sandy Wylie, Jr., telling me that, in retrospect, he had decided that he didn't preach a good sermon the first ten years in the pulpit. Now, nearing 10 years in the pulpit (Supply Pastor for 2, Part-Time Local Pastor for 1, Full-Time Local Pastor for 6, Associate Member since last Annual Conference), I must trust God that the sermon in the hands of the Board will be deemed adequate somehow.

  2. Robert, I'm sure you'll do fine. Ten years of pulpit experience has you in a much better position than I was at the time. This was maybe the 5th sermon I had ever preached in a congregation. I think we refine the craft as we go. May God bless your time before the BOM! And I'm thankful to Sandy for giving me the sound advice.