Sunday, May 12, 2013

Preaching in the Heartlands

Every sermon is a new experience. Every time I preached I learned something new. Today as usual I got up real early for a 10.30am service. With hours to spare, I had time to grade a few NT essays before going through my sermon for a last time. I went 90 minutes early as the sun was bearing down and it's very hot by 9am in the morning. At the end I had to take off my tie and for the first time I preached without a tie in Singapore. That's something new!

As I had more than 60 minutes to spare I had time for a bowl of dumpling soup and then took a long stroll at every corner of the HDB flats in the heartlands. I have gotten used to preaching with translation and this morning the translator was good but he struggled at times because I spoke fast and my sentences could be fairly long and complex, with subordinate and dependent clauses. At times I felt the power of God but not much. But after the service, I joined a bible study where we discussed the sermon. This is really interesting hearing what others thought of one's own sermon. Perhaps, my presence does not really permit frank discussion, out of politeness for the guest preacher. But I received good feedback during lunch and a few church members actually said they hoped I would return soon to speak to them again.

Preaching in the heartlands poses some challenges because they are uncles and aunties who are ordinary people without higher education, but there are also a number of university students. So I tried to minister to two distinct groups. I gave a handout as part of my sermon, something I had never done before. It's something new, for today anyway.

I spoke about why Christians suffer. Yes, on mother's Day! It was based on a passage given to me by the pastor of the church on Paul and Silas in Prison in Acts 16:16-34.

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