It's 1:02am and once again I'm up late because God has been working on me. This is getting to be a habit. I'm going through a lot of soul searching these last few months and especially these last few weeks. I regularly feel compelled to read Scripture, and not just like having a 'quiet time,' but really searching and meditating beyond my normal reading. I'm also praying differently. I'm listening more. I'm waiting more. I'm quiet more. I don't say any of that to say I'm doing something great spiritually. I've found that the more I'm quiet and listen, the more I sense my own pride and sin and cluttered mind and life.
Most of my thoughts and meditations have been on the Gospel. And the more I meditate on the Gospel (in full, or in part) the more I realize how much of the Gospel I miss in Scripture for my idolatry over principles. I can't explain this idea well yet, and please don't push me on it, but I'm growing more convinced that the pragmatics we teach and try to live are less about Scripture and more feeding our need to accomplish our own sanctification.
Now I'm not denying that the Scriptures are thoroughly practical. They certainly are. But it's so easy to make the practical seem exciting and the Gospel to seem too basic and elementary. It's easier to feel the excitement of the mission more than the excitement of hearing again the Gospel that calls us to mission.
Anyway, that's what my mind has been chewing on. A HUGE help in this meditation has been the sermons of Tim Keller. Yeah, I know, I talk about Keller a lot. But if there is anything I can say with certainty about Keller, it's this: when I hear Keller I hear the Gospel and not Keller. And whatever issue he is dealing with, he is always dealing primarily with the Gospel.
Yeah, I know this seems elementary. But I always find my way to preach sermons that include the Gospel rather than being the Gospel. When I hear sermons I tend to try to extract practicals rather than know Jesus. It's an enticing trap.
So, in that vein, I highly recommend Tim Keller's sermon on Luke 10: Messengers. I've listened to it a couple of times in the last few weeks, and it's one of the best examples I know of to show how to talk about something practical (our mission) while really just feeding us the Gospel. Enjoy.