Philippians 4:13 is familiar. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” But in the midst of lockdown, shelter-in-place, and quarantine, “all things” takes on new meaning. Not for ourselves, but for others.
At the beginning of this sermon I share some statistics from the YouVersion website. While some might think it’s a bit creepy or “Orwellian” (kind of like having a Christian Big Brother) I find the statistics facinating and they give me hope. As of this writing, the Bible has been read on the YouVersion app for over 102 billion minutes! How can we not get excited about that?
People are reading their Bibles and finding hope. The most read chapter last year was Romans 8 (read on average 4 times per second) and the most shared verse was Philippians 4:13. There is a lot in those statistic to make us hopeful.
So, I wanted this sermon to offer a word of hope and some encouragement while at the same time correcting some misapplication of the text. From the reaction I got, I think I was able to do that.
When I outlined this series I decided to wrap it up with this verse. I thought it would be a good way to cap off the series. I wrote early on that I was afraid a series like this could get a little too negative. There were a few messages that did, but perhaps necessarily so. This sermon was received very positively, though.
You may have noticed in listening that this sermon wasn’t recorded at my church. There was a problem with the recording that day and only the last ten minutes were recorded. That was very frustrating, especially since I had cleared the story about my friend Randy with his family (Randy was killed in a car wreck a few years ago). They were looking forward to hearing the sermon. At the last minute, there was sickness in the family and they weren’t going to be able to be there. My only chance for them to hear it was the recording.
People in Kansas knew Randy well. He was a vital part of our church. The laughter as I told the story was warm and healing for many. Unfortunately, the recording was made at a church where they didn’t know Randy, so the reaction just isn’t the same.
It was very frustrating and I was disappointed when I found out the recording was ruined. I contacted my friends at the Kemp church and they graciously allowed me to come and share the message at their evening service.
I confess, preaching it at Kemp felt like a consolation prize. I wasn’t happy about it and simply wanted to get through the message without another snafu. Somewhere in the process I forgot that people there needed to hear the message too. There were those who were very appreciative of the sermon. I think I forgot that these interruptions are often God’s way of using us.
That was a good lesson for me to learn.