Most of you know that I am a “think-to-talker” much more than a “talk-to-thinker.” Though I deliver my Sunday messages without notes, I design them with great care and for the most part know what I’m going to say and when I’m going to say it.
Verbal processing is not really my strength. Written processing is.
For those reasons, my Sunday morning ad-libs are relatively rare.
Yet this past Sunday, at both the 9 and 11 services (that still feels odd to say that!), I had the sense towards the end of the sermon that I needed to raise the stakes. I wanted people to feel in the gut the ways they had been delivered in the past … all so that they’d be desperate for more of it in the future.
So I started a short riff … Some of you, if you’re life had continued on its trajectory, would be dead. But God. Others would be in jail. But God. Still others in rehab. But God.
And then: “Some of you woke up this morning in such depression you didn’t want to get out of bed at all. But God.”
It was unplanned and unscripted but I hope it added some ooomph.
So the message concluded shortly thereafter (“I don’t know whether Jesus turned water into wine … all I know is that in my house he turned beer into furniture.”). I invited our prayer team to assemble at the front. As I was getting my bible and water cup, a young gentleman whom I had never met approached me.
He was grateful for the message and the experience and then he said this: “When you said that thing about so depressed I almost couldn’t get out of bed, but God … ? That was me.”
And now you know what God can do with an ad-lib.
Some preacher here would have stuck with your scripted preparation … but God.