From The Formational Pastor

Ezekiel 17:22-24 – The Cedar Tree

Core longings: Significance (the shoot on a lofty mountain); purpose (the splendid cedar bears fruit and gives shelter)

Emotional upheaval / dysfunctional behaviors: We might respond to the pain from wounds of belittling or marginalizing by retreating further into insignificance; or we might respond to the pain of perceived insignificance with a manufactured sense of purpose. How wonderful it would be to be a tall cedar, standing on a mountaintop to be admired by everyone! But only Jesus, who is Lord of all, can restore true significance by restoring life and fecundity to those who are wounded. And perhaps the purpose of the Lord is not what we would have imagined, yet vastly more important – my purpose for you, He might say, is to give gentle shelter from the raging elements to some of my tender creatures who might otherwise be destroyed in the storms.

2 Cor. 5:1-17 – Present tents

Empowered living: As we progress along the healing journey the episodic encounters with Jesus, the truths that replace the lies, and the peace that passes all our understanding give us a new perspective on everything that we are going through. We don’t have to build walls anymore – the secure building is in heaven. We don’t have to live in shelters anymore – the flimsy tent of the body is shelter enough. The energy that we have devoted to building defenses for ourselves can now be directed to the healing of others.

Mark 4:26-34 – Preaching to the right side of the brain

Notice how Jesus “did not say anything [publicly] without using a parable” but instead taught to the right side of the brain. He allowed the picture to paint the point, and the imagination to draw the conclusions. More than “sermon illustrations” that prove the point, the parable IS the point. Can we preach only in parables as Jesus seems to have done, or do always we have to make the left-brain / right-brain connections for our hearers?