Formations lesson for Sept- 7- A Time For Nurture
August 26 2008 by Lamar King, retired minister, High Point

Focal Passage: 2 Chronicles 34:1-7  

In 1975, while pastor of First Baptist Church in Duncan, S.C., I was asked by a local helping agency to organize a ministry at the Duncan Prison Camp. I began by leading an early Sunday morning worship service. I usually had from 40-50 inmates to attend, and most of them seemed genuinely interested in what I had to say.

One morning, I began my sermon by quoting Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If.” It had a mesmerizing effect:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too …

I finished the first verse and started on the second:

If you can dream and not make dreams your master,
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same …

In the middle of the second verse, a young inmate in the front row interrupted. He stood up and tearfully asked, “But what if you can’t?”

I was startled. My first thought was, “You can’t ask questions in a sermon. I don’t have answers, I just have words.”

But when he asked the question, every head in room looked at him, and, then, in sync, every head turned and looked at me. I smiled, I frowned, I looked at my feet, and I realized he wanted an answer. I looked straight at him and said: “Sure you can.”

From the back of the room came another voice, “Sure you can, man.” And suddenly, other men in that room started nodding their heads and saying: “Yeah, you can,” and “Man, you can make it,” and “Go for it.”

That’s as far as my sermon got. One after another they made their way down to the front of the room and stood around the young inmate, and, one after another, they began to nurture him by telling of circumstances in their lives where they thought they couldn’t but they did. It was a moving service.

Webster’s dictionary defines nurture as “that which nourishes.” Ephesians 6:4 says Christian parents are to bring children up in the “nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Our task as Christians is to encourage those about us “in the Lord.” To the discouraged and disheartened in this world, we affirm in the Lord, “Sure you can!”  

8/26/2008 2:57:00 AM by Lamar King, retired minister, High Point | with 0 comments

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