I do not assume that people will show up on any given Sunday for ReCAST Church. Despite the historical data that on every Sunday since April 19, 2009 people have gathered together as ReCAST Church, there is still a weekly surprise that someone came back.
I say this without a shred of manipulative false humility, but with a genuine awe at the way God brought me from a high schooler terrified of public speaking, to a weekly preaching role. In high school I took a zero on an assignment for an impromptu speech because I was too scared. In college I sat down in the middle of a sermon I was presenting (it was my midterm assignment to preach to the class) because I lost my place and got completely flustered.
But beyond the way that God has overcome my fear of preaching, God has equally had to overcome my doubts that preaching is even valuable. When I was younger, I remember thinking that there had to be a better way to get this stuff out. My thinking went something like, “Really!? One guy standing up there talking about the Bible is the best we can do!? There must be some better way to get this message out.”
Over the years, as I began to listen more and judge less, and as my hunger to hear from God increased, preaching grew in my estimation. There are still truths that I practice to this day that I learned in sermons. My relationship with God has grown because of the faithful preaching of others throughout my life.
There are however, some significant residual effects of my stage fright. I will never be found too far from my notes. I still get butterflies even after seven years of preaching. But there is another more beneficial result of my stage fright. I have seen God’s grace in my life as he has used me in my weakness. I am no Piper, Chandler, or MacArthur, but I am still used by God to make his Word known.
When I think of my weekly responsibility to preach, it is no longer a duty, a responsibility, or a part of the job description. It is a deep privilege to study the Word of God in such a way that I let it impact me and spill out to others.
I am grateful that people come to listen, but I am most grateful that God has seen fit to use this weak man by bestowing on him the privilege of preaching. He is my audience and in Him I preach with delight.
I would never have known that you suffered from stage fright. You appear so confident and knowledgeable when you preach. Just think how many people whose lives to whom you have had a positive effect. I feel privileged to hear God’s Word from your mouth when we visit. Thank you Don and thank you Lord for helping Don bring forth your Word!