“IF I’VE TOLD YOU ONCE…”
There are a lot of significant dates taking place for me this summer. On August 1st, I will celebrate 10 years preaching at Chandler Street. Just the fact that you have put up with me for 10 years is incredible! If my records are right, I have preached 602 sermons since I came here. Now, that does not include classes taught, Small Group Bible Studies, lessons at the Willows and Country Place, Communion Talks, funerals, weddings or special events. So perhaps I could say without too much exaggeration: “If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times….”
On August 10th, I will celebrate 25 years since I graduated from Preston Road School of Preaching. Now, I can’t say that I have been preaching for just 25 years because I did preach while in school and even once before school (that is when I knew I needed to go to school so I could learn how to preach). The best I can figure, in that time, I have preached just over 2,000 sermons. On July 30th, I will attend a reunion of the school and celebrate ministry with a lot of wonderful servants of Jesus.
Even more, on August 19th, I will celebrate 33 years of marriage to Donna. You need to realize that she has had to sit through those 2,000 sermons! So before you think you should get the award for endurance, you need to give her a hug of encouragement, especially for those early years!
Everyone who knows me knows that I love to preach. For me, it is the greatest opportunity of worship. During those few “short” moments of standing in the pulpit, I get the privilege of getting lost in a message from God to me as I share it with you. Almost always, I am more amazed at what God has said than anyone else who has listened with an open heart. I am even more amazed that after just one sermon, anyone else would come and listen to another message. I can definitely relate to the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.”
“I did not come with eloquence”…but you already know that. I can barely say the word eloquence. “I did not come with superior wisdom”…I never claimed to be a scholar, just a servant. “I came to you in weakness and fear”…weakness in my abilities and fear of not proclaiming the truth of God’s Word. “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words”…even though I wish they were so that more would be persuaded to follow Jesus and be faithful to His Word and His church.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I do not use my precious time in the pulpit to talk about issues or others in the brotherhood or my “hobbies”. I just want to go to heaven…and I want you to come with me. The only way that is possible is if we are faithful to the cross of Christ and the message of the Gospel. After all of this time, you are not amazed at my talents and abilities but your faith rest in God’s power as revealed in your life and mine and revealed in His Word. I do pray before each sermon that the Holy Spirit will do something with His message that I cannot do on my own. I pray that He will touch someone’s heart so that their lives will be changed, especially their eternal life.
So please, be patient with me as I continue in His ministry and His mission for my life. Serve beside me as I strive to serve God by serving others. Join me in worship to the one true Almighty God who allows us to call Him “Father”. Bow with me in humility as we realize together the blessings that are ours because of the sacrifice of our Savior. And pray with me and for me, as I will for you, that we will never give up on each other or on God.
And get ready…Lord willing I’m going to preach number 603!
Love in Christ,
Chris Vidacovich, Preacher