Ministry Monday: Christmas Encouragement for Pastors & Sermons for Preaching
Written By: Glenn C. Stewart
I walked along the sea wall of Lake Monroe in deep distress. Dashed hopes and disappointment left me sad and lethargic. Though I prayed and desperately wanted circumstances to change, there didn’t seem any prospect of improvement. It wasn’t that life was terrible; it just wasn’t what I wanted and expected.
The words of the psalmist echoed in my mind…
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” (Psalm 42:5, ESV).
Turmoil – a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty – accurately described my feelings.
Then I thought about another passage of Scripture:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:6-7, ESV).
A flash of anger arose within me because too often these verses are glibly quoted to someone struggling with anxiety and distress as if to say, “Just pray and all your troubles will go away.” But that’s not reality. In fact, the verses aren’t about my troubles but what God gives me in my troubles – peace! So, where was his peace? After all, I had prayed.
Two words struck me – “with thanksgiving.” In my sadness, in my distress, in my turmoil, what can I be thankful for? For God; for who He is and what He does for me. Thanking Him means stacking up my spiritual assets against my circumstantial liabilities.
I took out a piece of paper and quickly wrote a list of reasons to always be thankful. Your list may be different but here’s a starting place…
Scriptural Reasons I’m Thankful:
- All things are under his control (Psalm 115:3)
- He works everything for my greatest good (Romans 8:28)
- He will never leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5)
- He is all-powerful and nothing is too difficult for him (Luke 1:37)
- He cares about me (1 Peter 5:7)
- He loves me unconditionally and unendingly (Romans 8:32-39)
- He gives me wisdom for life’s trials (James 1:5)
- He never goes to sleep on my needs (Psalm 121:4)
- He is for me (Romans 8:31)
Christmas Encouragement for Pastors:
This is my Christmas encouragement for pastors… when your pastoral life is in distress, pray and rehearse these assets; bring them up on the screen of your mind and scroll through them, pausing to let them sink in emotionally.
As I got in my car and drove away from Lake Monroe nothing had changed in my circumstances, but a lot changed in me – I had peace.
What is it you are thankful for in your relationship with God? What’s your list? Let us know in the comment section below. And feel free to utilize the available holiday sermons below.
2 Free Christmas Sermon Outlines & Packets:
|The Indescribable Gift: A Christmas Eve Sermon
A Christmas Sermon: Leaning on God Like Joseph
Amazon Best-Seller Christmas Sermon:
Mary’s Trust & Humility: A Christmas Sermon