I'm grateful to have grown up in a family where I had to eat what was served. Asparagus was one of those vegetables I had to eat but didn't like. Today, I really like asparagus, as well as several other foods I didn't like as a boy. Scripture often likens God's Word to food. Jesus said: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Sermons are the pastor's attempt to prepare a healthy meal from God's Word. "Healthy"meals are not always liked. The Apostle Paul wrote that God's Word is "useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16). A good sermon corrects as well as instructs us. It's purpose is to benefit & build up people, just like a healthy meal.
I'm also old enough to know that like children with food, people like to hear what "tastes good." The apostle Paul wrote that some people "will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear" (2 Timothy 4:3). Just as my parents made me eat what I didn't like out of love, a loving Pastor needs to serve a well-balanced meal, even if it is not pleasing to one's preferred desire. In that spirit, I seek to prepare a healthy "meal" and handle God's Word honestly while seeking to preach the truth of God's Word in love.
After seeing how "JOY" was a dominant reality within the Christmas accounts of Matthew & Luke, we are currently focusing on a more full Biblical understanding of "JOY" during January.