Yesterday I invested the majority of my day preparing for a series of six different messages that I have the privilege of giving, this Wednesday through Saturday, at a Summer Camp, for a group of 200+ middle school and high school students.
As the day approaches for me to leave for this camp, many questions cross my mind:
Will the students like me?
Will I make a connection with them?
Will what I preach have a long-term impact?
The thought of preaching to a bunch of students who have no idea of who you are and who are all at various stages in their relationship with God can actually be quite stressful!
But after several weeks of thinking through how I could organize the talks in such a way that would be both creative and compelling, yesterday, it all came together.
The theme of the messages is "STAND UP", the primary text I will be preaching from is the book of Daniel, and it is my hope that by the end of my final talk on Saturday morning I will have answered, for the students, the following question: "How do I stand for what I believe, in a world that doesn't believe?"
But the theme, question and answers to the question didn't just come out of nowhere!
It required much prayer to discover what direction God wanted me to go.
It required a fair amount of study to determine what the text was saying in context.
It required a significant amount of thinking to decide how to tie the six messages together.
But the price of preparation is a price worth paying. My preparation ultimately precedes my relaxation.
My preparation positions me to be able to take a deep breath prior to every message that I give and pray, "Lord, I have done all that I can do to make your message engaging, now you must do what only you can do to make your message transforming."