You Are Not Alone

So yesterday was my first sermon to preach as the Highland Preaching minister. It was a day I’ll never forget as both exciting and terrifying,, On many levels, this was a moment that had been a long time in the making.

I remember growing up in my tiny church, Brother Foy used to take me to different churches that he was going to guest speak at. Then at the last moment, right after the  last song before he got up, he’d stand up and announce to the congregation that he had brought someone else to speak that morning.

And that speaker was me.

The first few times he did this, I wanted to immediately make my impromptu sermon one about honesty. Specifically in regards to surprise speaking invitations. But after a while, what Bro. Foy was trying to do worked. I started becoming comfortable thinking on my feet while in front of people. It formed me.

I think about all the different times Rick would tell me practical ways in which I could improve a point, or how to say something a little better. It was advice that was born out of decades of loving to preach, and loving preachers. And it formed me.

But not just that.

They say that preachers help form churches, but the reverse is true as well. Churches form preachers. I’ve grown by watching audiences respond, or not respond,. Preaching is a product of a hundred senior ladies coming up with a word of encouragement.  It is the culmination of dozens of different people being kind, when they just as easily could have been harsh. It’s loving people when they are off, because you trust God could form them into something more than they currently are.

I’ve shared on here before about my passion to help raise up younger preachers at Highland. But the truth is this isn’t something that any one person can do. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I think that the same can be said for preachers.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer is addressing a community that is scared, and with good reason. They are facing some pretty imminent persecution for following Jesus. And so the book of Hebrews crescendos by talking to them about the people who have gone before them.  It reminds these people that they have a story with people like Abraham and Gideon, Moses and Rahab, David and Samuel.

Hebrews tells us about the heroes of the faith, the ones that every good boy and girl grew up hearing about. And then we hear that these men and women are cheering us on.

They’re cheering for us to run the race that was marked out for us.

A lot of people think that Hebrews was written first as a sermon. And I’ve got to think that this preacher would’ve noticed that in this list they were laying out there was a lot of people who preached before them. I wonder if this preacher realized that  they were someone who is standing in a long tradition of people who have spoken for God, and now it was their turn.

Yesterday, I got a ton of text messages and emails from men and women who were reminding me that I am not doing this alone. I’m standing on the shoulder who people who care about my family and the Kingdom of God. But one of them I had to share.

Last night I got one of the most encouraging emails ever. It was from a teenager at Highland. They told me that they saw an Angel up there with me while I was preaching. Now I’ve never met this person, but they said that they weren’t prone to having “sightings” like this. In fact, it was the first thing like this they had ever seen.

Now I don’t normally share emails like this on here, and I’m trying to protect the anonymity of the person who wrote it (and not weird anyone out). But I loved this. What young teenager has the courage to write something like this to their new preacher?

But I will cherish it forever.

I’m not prone to seeing angels or demons behind every bush. And my more skeptical side tends to write off the  stuff that can’t be dissected or understood…when coming from most people. But what if…

What if this teen was just peeking into what the preacher of Hebrews already knows? I don’t’  think it’s something that is reserved for just preachers, but hopefully it includes us…What if we got a chance to peek into the cloud of witnesses that cheer us on?

From Angels to Abel, from Saints past to Saints present. The Scriptures tell a story that insists we are not doing this thing alone.

The race marked out for you, is uniquely marked out for you. Your ministry, your passions, the calling on your life may be unique, but  it is not a task you undertake by yourself.

You are not alone.

About jonathanstorment

My family and I love reading, traveling, daddy/daughter dates, playing hide and seek, good music, and long meals with friends. We still miss LOST, and all four of us have Superman uniforms. We are passionate about bringing Heaven to Earth and want to follow Jesus while repainting discipleship for those around us. We are followers of Jesus and I preach at the Highland Church of Christ. We participate in something called A Restoration Movement, and we've come to realize that might be larger than we thought.

8 thoughts on “You Are Not Alone

  1. Wow! How incredibly cool and courageous it is for the said teenager to have written that unto you! That e-mail is most definitely something to treasure. Now I really want to know who it is. You brought such rich life into our body yesterday. I look forward to getting to know you and that precious family you lead. You are prayed over every day as I bring my first-fruit prayers to the Lord. Bless you!

  2. And you found out tonight, Lauren! Love you! Thanks, again Jonathan! Can’t wait to hear the other sermons yet to come since angels appeared on your very first one!!! Incredible! (by the way that wasn’t supposed to rhyme) 🙂

  3. I think this is by far the most exciting thing that happened on Sunday and it was a day of excitement! Thanks for sharing Jonathan. More Lord!!

  4. Jonathan!

    Have you looked at your feet recently? Why? Because
    “How beautiful on the mountains [prairies?]
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
    who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,
    who say to Zion,
    “Your God reigns!”

    Grand Slam! That’s what I’d say about your first sermon as our new preaching minister!! There are so many details, both spiritual and human that I’ve revisited and enjoyed since Sunday. I’ve been reluctant to write anything about that wonderful morning …. savoring that morning ….. for fear that to write about it will limit its scope!

    Some of the highlights from my perspective are:

    *You donned the mantel of Highland’s Preaching Minister without a doubt from that first word as you leaped up in front of us.
    *You preached His Word clearly and in a manner that challenged us to see the goal you vision for Highland’s future, starting NOW!
    *Not only did you challenge us with the vision of setting our goal – you gave us one of the most amazing tools to do so; “The Word Became Flesh” – if Abilene is to know Jesus, we must be that flesh …. we must be the flesh that is the Word in Abilene. Wow! Talk about a pulpit nudge.to get us to work NOW!!

    You have accepted our welcome and responded with a challenge to move faith in Him throughout this little city. It is a pleasure to say, “Yes! I will travel under your teaching, Jonathan Storment, with joy and thanksgiving that you are not only leading, but like all excellent leaders, you are walking the same’ Word becoming flesh’ journey with us.

    Blessings to you! Blessings to Leslie and the children! And bless Highland as we mature in this new phase of our ‘following Jesus’ walk!!
    Praying for you and your family daily, really, often each day as your faces come to mind!

    Thank You, Jesus for walking with us and guiding at Highland as we learn and grow under Jonathan’s teaching and example. Protect him, LORD from the accuser’s attacks – protect him from those enticing temptations that we all struggle against. May You always be first in is heart, mind and soul and may he be given the gift of transmitting the challenge of You first, last and always to all who hear him. Thank You for Your sweet name, Jesus, and in it do I pray. Amen!

  5. Thanks Lauren, I really appreciate you. Sunday was really rich for both Leslie and me. We loved the Spirit that was in the air there. See you this weekend!

    Carlee, thanks for commenting on here. And thanks for the encouragement. Your email made my encouragement file.

    Candy, thanks!

    Kathy, you should blog! I really appreciate your always kind words. And this blessing was great! Thanks for everything Mrs. Kathy!

  6. Good stuff, bro. I think in coming days, last days, that what your friend saw will be more the norm than cause to question. Albeit, there have always been and will likely continue to be flakes who fake sightings, but just because some freakshows make things up doesn’t mean we should disqualify honest seers. Thanks for taking him seriously and. . . How awesome that our Father had a standby there for you and with you and your new church family. I’m so excited about what God’s doing with you and Highland. Good stuff, for sure.

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