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A Sunday in L.A.

Well, I made it safely from Boston to Los Angeles. One thing I neglected to realize when planning my travel is that arriving in L.A. at 10:30 PM is a lot later than it seems when coming in from the East Coast. So I arrived at 10:30, but of course it was really 1:30 AM in the east. Thankfully I slept soundly and was in pretty good shape to speak at Grace Community Church this morning. I spoke before a group of a few hundred thirty-somethings and then before what must have been 1,000 college students. I spoke from Genesis 3, tracing redemptive history through the cherubim that the Lord placed outside Eden to guard the way to the Tree of Life. What a thrill it was to be able to travel right across the continent and preach God’s Word.

Coming from quite a small church, it was an interesting experience to be on a campus with thousands and thousands of people milling about. I guess it would be simple enough to be just a face in the crowd, but it certainly seemed like there was lots of true fellowship going on there. It looks like the church does a good job of allowing people to be part of something small, even with such a huge congregation.

And that was that. We swung by the church quickly to say hello to Dr. MacArthur and then had lunch with Travis Allen and his family (Travis is involved in running the GTY web site and blog).

Somehow, in the middle of it all, I began to think of this quote from Michael Emlet. I want to remember this one in the midst of studying and speaking and preaching. It is a good corrective; a good warning.

A temptation in ministry is to think that just because we prepared a Bible study, a sermon, or a discipleship appointment (or wrote a book like this!), we are deeply engaging with the God of the universe. But that’s not necessarily true. It’s easy in ministry to live more as a ‘pipe’ than a ‘reservoir.’ That is, it’s easy to live merely as a conduit to others of the transforming truths of God’s Word, rather than as a changed and transformed reservoir who overflows with lived-out gospel truth. You wouldn’t imagine cooking meal after meal for your family without sitting down to enjoy that nourishment, would you? To paraphrase James 1:22, let’s not merely be hearers or speakers or counselors of the Word, but doers, first and foremost.

Those are words I need to remember.

Tomorrow I’m off to The Master’s College to lead chapel and do a few other things. Should be fun!


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