from On Life in St.Petersburg by Liz Hulley

I like this thread by Motte Brown over at Boundless. He polls everyone about whether they’ve been “messed up” by a pastor, as in deeply convicted by a particular sermon, and moved to act.

While I can’t pinpoint a particular sermon, I can, of course, recall factors that changed my life.

“Ruined for the ordinary” is another phrase that gets tossed around, although I can’t seem to find the original source.

I can remember a few times when I wished I hadn’t ever gone to Russia or gotten involved. I was in too deep and I wasn’t sure if I liked that feeling.

I wanted to keep one foot planted on safe ground, but it was too late to go back. It wasn’t that it was bad, just overwhelming.

Since I was receptive to hearing about missions during college, I suppose Urbana 2003 would have held some of those sermons that “messed up” my life. I will have to find my notes again the next time I’m home. You can listen to some of the talks from that year in the archives.

Why is it that the messages that tear us apart the most often bear the most fruit in our lives?

The following verses come to mind:

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise. (Ps. 51:17)

Those who sow in tears

will reap with songs of joy.

He who goes out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with him. (Ps.126: 5,6)