Yesterday, I continued my exposition of Ephesians with a message on 1:3, entitled, “Count Your Blessings.” I didn’t sleep Saturday night. I was restless because I was very nervous about preaching Sunday morning. I’m not sure why, though. I was very excited about the message. And I was eager to be in worship. But I was very uptight about my message. I had worked hard on it. I even had an extra week to work on it. But I still struggled in preparing it. In fact, about 5:00 AM Sunday morning, it went from a four-point outline to a three-point outline. And I continued tinkering with is until it was time to go into worship. But I don’t think my internal “whatever” was very evident in either of the presentations of the message. The Lord really did help me to preach clearly, I believe. And the more I preached, the more excited I became about the message – both times. Here’s the sermon skeleton:
Title: “Count Your Blessings”
Text: Ephesians 1:3
Point: Every person who is united to Christ by faith is already richly blessed by God.
I. The Proper Response to the Blessed Life: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”
II. The Exclusive Means to the Blessed Life: “in Christ“
III. The Infinite Scope of the Blessed Life: “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places“
A. We have a sufficient blessing in Christ. “every spiritual blessing.”
B. We have a spiritual blessing in Christ: “every spiritual blessing.”
C. We have a secure blessing in Christ: “in the heavenly places.”
Yesterday afternoon, we fellowshiped with the Rhema Community Church in La Puente, CA. My longtime friend, Ronald Saunders is the founding pastor. The congregation is only three years old. And they have only been in their own facility for about a year now. But God is blessing this young congregation. And I am proud to see how the Lord is continuing to you this young man, who I deem to be – hands down – one of the best young preachers I know. I pray that the Lord would continue to bless this church to grow, both spiritually and numerically. And I pray that God would continue to use Ronald in greater ways. I was glad that we could join in with them in their celebration, which is the first time they have had such a celebration service. And I pray that my message and our presence was an encouragement to them.
Speaking of encouragement, the highlight of the day was the fact that more than thirty members of MSMBC stayed around the church after our morning services to ride together to Rhema Church. We chartered a bus. And we didn’t really do it until the last minute. I didn’t even announce it until last Wednesday night, and I failed to mention it during either of our morning services yesterday. And I was quite surprised that so many joined us on the bus. I hadn’t intended on riding, but George and I decided to at the last minute. I read my manuscript most of the way there. And I gazed out the window on the way back, half asleep. But I can’t describe to you how encouraging it was to be with the members of MSMBC on that bus, not to mention the other members who drove out for the service. I call these “post cards for heaven,” through which God reminds us that we are still on his mind. God knows I needed one. And he sent it right on time and in a special way. Praise God!