Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Best Sermons That Weren't Sermons: Part One

So, I'm sitting in church this evening, realizing that I have heard a lot of good sermons in my lifetime. I've been blessed to be part of three different churches with really great preachers that preached sermons that changed my life, but here's what I realized. I don't remember most of those sermons.

The sermons I remember didn't come from preachers. They came from songs, letters, books, children, and lots of other places. I thought I would write down the top ten life changing "Sermons" and what they taught me.

10. Okay, I actually only had nine.  So read on!

9. Billy Graham, not his sermons, his life. I'm amazed by this man's integrity and his commitment to never talk badly about a person.

8. The book "The Bait of Satan" by John Bevere. It's all about bitterness being an evil tool and forgiveness being the key to freedom. Even if you don't think you need it, read it. It will be good for you.

7. Joseph, the guy in the Bible. That man trusted God through lots of trials for many many years; almost being killed by his brothers, sold into slavery (being a slave for 10 years!), put in prison for something he didn't do, and then finally, success and a chance for revenge.  He chose forgiveness all because he realized that God used his trials for good.

6. Francine Rivers, author. Every single one of her books has taught me a lesson. If you love fiction and you haven't read any of her novels, you need to. It could change your life. I would suggest "Redeeming Love" or the "Lion Mark" series.

5. The song, "Live like you were dying" by Tim McGraw. Yes, I know it's way overdone and lots of people are tired of it, but we did a mime to it that spoke volumes to me personally. God gives you one life. Love it and love people. You'll be happy.

4. Scripture... lot's of scripture... 

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not tremble or be dismayed for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

He's with me wherever I go, whatever is happening. He is with me.

 John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage, I have overcome the world. 


3. The birth of a little black and white paint filly at my home. God doesn't just give us what we need to survive, he sometimes blesses us with stuff that we think we can have only in our dreams. When I was growing up, and totally in love with horses, I drew pictures of the same horse, a black and white paint with a blue eye (my favorite horse at the time had a blue eye) and white mane. When my mare was pregnant, I just kept thinking how cool it would be if the baby was a paint, and how incredibly cool it would be if it was black and white.... It was all that... plus the blue eye. 

God loves me.

2. Conversation with a five year old on the day my mother died.  My mom died on June 14th, 2002. I was watching 4 children (in addition to my three) the morning that I got the call. I was devastated. I went outside and started sobbing. Soon I was surrounded by all of the children. The one part of the conversation that I remember is that one of the children said, "Why are you crying? Isn't your mom in heaven?" I nodded affirmatively. "The child said, "But isn't that a good thing?"  That was the beginning of my healing.
Later my 5 year old, said "Mom, I know what grandma is doing in heaven. She is jumping around and riding a bike!".  My mom had been in a wheelchair due to horrible arthritis.  My Annie helped me realize that for Mom, heaven was a really good thing.

1. A letter I got from God. I know this sounds really strange, but it's true. I read an article once that if you were dealing with a huge hurt in your past, that you should write a letter to God. Then later, you should write a letter that you think is his true response. Without going into any detail about the "hurt", let me just tell you, God wrote me that letter. The things that were written were not things I had ever thought of before. It was one of the most healing experiences of my life. 

So, that's it. The 10 (okay 9) best "nonsermons" in my life.  Will you share one of yours?

Thanks for listening.



Sheila Siler said...

Okay, I'll share one. At my age there are plenty, but this one I'll share.

It's a book - "The Shack" by William Young. People either seem to hate it or love it. But for me, it was wonderful. I read it two weeks after burying my mother. Having been raised in church and having very set ideas about how God "is" - in spite of knowing in my head He can't be put in a box, this book opened up my heart to the possibilities of an even greater "greatness" to God. God got bigger, and yet more intimate when I finished that book.

Linda Fischer said...

Sheila, I loved "The Shack". I think it's one of those books that get better each time you read it. I think maybe I'll go read it again.:)

Love you!


Recovering Church Lady said...

Great post! I'm on staff at a church as you are and we joke about giving the church 52 "Life changing" messages a year! Kinda silly isn't it?
Several came to mind as I read this, the 2 books, The Shack and Blue Like Jazz dramatically affected my life and God friendship.

Paul said...

Wonderful post, Linda! Really liked #2, and never would have considered doing #1. May have to try that sometime. :)


Hi Linda, I love your list! :-)

I added myself to follow your blog but for some reason it added a blank profile face???

Take care and have a great week