|Guess were we are?|
(Warner's and Franci H ssss don't tell :) )
We are now more than halfway through our time here. Time is certainly going very fast, as it always does.
I have been busy preaching and visiting. Pastor Kuiken was away on holiday for the last two weeks (back last Saturday), and so there has been plenty to do.
On Sunday the 30th I had my first full Sunday of preaching two new sermons, preaching the same sermon twice in the morning, and then another new sermon in the evening. I have taken both am and pm services previously, but using old sermons. It was a long, but enjoyable day. One of the things that I was surprised by was how tiring preaching is! I didn't realize that it would take so much out of me.
I am very much enjoying the time that I am able to spend pastorally with people. Someone once said that spending time out of the study will help you spend time in the study. I am finding that very much to be true. As I am writing my sermons I am able to see how they can apply to the life of the congregation here. It does make writing sermons easier, when you can see and think of those in the congregation who are going through life's various trials.
As far as Sermon writing goes, I am enjoying the experience. It is a privilege to be able to spend time in God's Word, and then also to be able to deliver that to the congregation.
I feel that my delivery is improving, and I have been learning to slow down a lot more. (I also think that the congregation is getting use to my accent!) While I am still nervous, especially before going up to the pulpit, I am certainly feeling more comfortable preaching, and that helps me as I deliver.
I am also managing to confine myself to a one page outline. This has made a big difference in my delivery. It gives me more freedom as I speak, I don't feel tied to having to say 'exactly what is on the page'. Hanneke and the girls have also noted that it has made a big improvement in my facial and bodily expressions.
At the moment I am going through the Psalms of Ascents. This Sunday I am preaching on Psalm 134 (DV). Preaching through a series makes preparation easier, as it helps you to see the common themes that tie things together. I have also been using some of the Sermons that I wrote in class. Last week, and yesterday I preached on Judges 3:12-30, the story of Ehud and Eglon. That was a lot of fun to put together.
This Sunday I am preaching twice in the morning, and then in Hudson Valley URC in New York State. I am looking forward to it. It is about an hour's drive from where we are staying, so we get to see a bit more of the countryside/ freeway.
So far it has been a big learning curve, but a very enjoyable one. We are very much encouraged by the support of the congregation, and their willingness to be my 'guinea pigs'.
A reminder that all my sermons that I preach here in Pompton Plains are on Sermon Audio: www.sermonaudio.com . You just need to search on my name in the Speaker section. I would love to have some constructive criticism.
We are constantly asked if we are going to stay in the US. Our reply to them is always, NZ is where our heart is. It is there that we have a desire to serve, and be used in His service in the RCNZ, if that his will.
Well, we have been invited out for dinner tonight, and I must get myself ready.
Thank you for your prayers and support. We can't do this without you!
Till next time,