When preaching gets a little awkward

Last Sunday we had a full house at Awaken and quite a few new faces…then I told them what I was teaching on: circumcision. I was trying to think what it would be like to show up to a church for the first time and repeatedly hear the words “circumcise,” “circumcised,” “circumcision,” and “foreskins.” One word kept coming to mind: awkward.

If you think it’s awkward to hear it, try teaching it. It’s not exactly the most comfortable of topics.

One thing that marks Awaken Church is expositional Bible teaching. I teach a series every once in a while (even then, I teach expositionally through the text), but I prefer to take a book of the Bible and teach straight through it, verse by verse. It allows God’s Word to really come alive in a unique way and speak exactly what needs to be spoken when we need to hear it. It also forces me to teach texts that I probably wouldn’t normally choose to teach.

Last Sunday was one of those days as we came to the topic of circumcision in the book of Joshua.

So Joshua made flint knives for himself, and circumcised the sons of Israel at the hill of the foreskins. – Joshua 5:3

I’ve taught about a lot of memorable hills/mountains in the Bible: Mt. Ararat, where the ark came to rest; Mt. Sinai, where God met with Moses in the wilderness; Mt. Carmel, where the epic battle between Elijah and the prophets of Baal took place, but I’d never (until Sunday) taught about the “hill of the foreskins.

Although the words and the topic can potentially be a little awkward, there was also deep spiritual truth and application as well. Circumcision was an outward sign that this generation of men were ALL IN – committed to serving the Lord. Even though some would shy away from the topic, we embraced the spiritual application of it and I even called people to make their own stand for Christ.

My take-away from the message: I’d teach about circumcision again. I’m not scared. It’s God’s Word.

Because that generation of men stood for the Lord and were willing to go through some pain to prove it, and because I taught the text even though it was a little awkward, and because people stuck around to hear the message…

1 girl gave her life to the Lord for the first time,

2 women rededicated their lives to Christ,

About 80 Christians stood to their feet at their chairs as a visual sign that they are ALL IN!

I’d say it was worth the awkwardness.

Here’s the message from Joshua 5 called “Under the Knife”


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