I am learning to settle into my new role at Back to the Bible Canada. Of course that means getting to know the staff here, and learning the art of communicating on radio, a medium where I am unable to see my audience. I’m also struck with the dawning realization that I will be preaching a new message every day. In some ways, that is not a daunting task. In my last ministry assignment, I preached five times every weekend. But those were the same sermons, as we needed multiple services to accommodate the many people who attended. Radio, as I’ve learned, doesn’t present me with those challenges; now, there are different ones. Instead of preaching the same sermon five times a week, I am preaching five different sermons every week. That will be well in excess of 200 per year, and if God gives me grace, well in excess of 1,000 in the next five years!
As I think of what lies ahead, I have several reflections. The first is a sobering thought from Proverbs 10:19 which says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking.” It is inevitable that with many words comes the propensity to sin with the mouth. But I am hopeful, as the very next proverb found in verse 20 says, “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,” and the proverb after that states, “The lips of the righteous feed many.” So my first thought on my new role leads me to pray this: “God, keep my mouth from folly and transgression, and give me the grace to feed Your people, and present You in a way that makes You seem as You actually are, altogether glorious.”
My second thought around my new role has much to do with the opportunity that the ministry of Back to the Bible presents. For years, I worked with a colleague in ministry who had come to Christ through listening to a Christian radio program. “Pastor Norm” as he became known, was at one time a businessman who knew nothing of the Bible or the Christian faith. He was known as a man who knew how to make tough decisions and also how to terminate people when they weren’t working out. But one day, stepping into his truck and starting the engine, he found that someone had left the radio on, and it was set to a Christian station. He heard a preacher for the first time, but before long, he simply turned it off, thinking this was nonsense.
The next time he got into the truck, he found that the radio was once again tuned to the same station where he had just heard the preacher. He was baffled at this coincidence, because as far as he knew, no one else had used his truck. But this time, Norm listened a little longer. After a while, he found himself tuning to the station, until the time came when he pulled his truck off the road and gave his life to Christ.
That man eventually became a pastor, and I had the privilege of working with him for a number of years. Radio has the ability to touch the most unlikely of lives in a way that little else can. Would you remember to pray for me? I want not only to be faithful to the Bible, but to be able to let the Bible speak into the hearts of those like Norm – the ones who seemed the most unlikely to become Christ followers.
Over the years, I will be speaking on hundreds of different biblical texts and on hundreds of different topics. I will be speaking to people of vastly different backgrounds, reflecting many different cultures and traditions. But I know that the Bible has a way of transcending even the hardest heart, and transforming the most skeptical person.
During these next five weeks, I am doing an in-depth study of the first four chapters of Romans. It forms the basis of our faith. I want this series both to set the tone for a careful reflection of what the Bible teaches, but also to help listeners to ground their lives in the most amazing promises of God’s Word.