This post first appeared on the Reservoir Church website as my pastoral reflection.
As a new associate pastor, I was prayerfully preparing my first sermon for a Sunday morning, the weekend of Thanksgiving, a perfect time to let rookies preach I guess. As I finalized my outline and main points of the sermon I was granted the high honor of meeting with the revered Senior Pastor so he could review my material and guide me to the better way.
I don’t remember everything from the conversation, I know I spent a few minutes trying to convince my audience of one that yes you could, in fact, preach about Jesus from the Psalms (I was preaching that Jesus was our ultimate comfort from Psalm 119). But the key memory I have of that meeting was that pastor’s bottom line advice: “You have to give them something concrete, something they can hold onto.”
I totally agreed, even though we defined what was concrete differently. For the pastor, he meant (and I know because I asked him) that I needed to give my hearers something they could work on, something of their own effort they could strive for, hold onto. Now if you have been around Reservoir long or heard more than one sermon you might easily guess that I am not keen on convincing you to hold onto your own ability, what YOU can achieve.
Quite differently, I see Scripture calling us to hold onto the work of another, for salvation and all of life. Clinging to Jesus and his finished work, his empowerment by the Spirit.
So from that conversation, I have determined to in fact give everyone who ever hears me preach something concrete to hold onto, the Rock that is Christ.
I promise this Rock is stronger than any concrete of self any good communicator can conjure up. And in Exodus 17 we see the Rock of salvation. God taking on the accusation of the people, that he hasn’t provided, protected or been present with them. Standing on the stone table of judgment he takes the blow of the rod of his power and water flows like a river for the people. Relief for sinful, doubting people. This is always how God works and it was meant to point to the final Rock, to Jesus and the living water he gives and is for those that believe.
We truly have all we need when Jesus is our Rock. Our foundation, our building, our all. In every corner of our lives, in all that we are, he is our Rock. Is that true of you? I want this too and my prayer is that all of us will continue to realize this all-of-life faith in Christ as a reality.
There is nothing else that can quench our thirst. There is nothing else that can invigorate us for the mission Jesus has called us to. There is nothing else to preach, Jesus is the whole counsel of God. There is no concrete stronger.
At Reservoir we have committed to giving you something concrete in every sermon, that something is the Rock that is Jesus. Drink of him today and every day. Share the water with others and rejoice in his finished work.