God is leading me into full-time gospel ministry, leading the church in missions and missions training. I am very excited and humbled by this and pray that I follow God's leading every step of the way. The one thing I want to avoid is comforting itching ears. I don't want to preach what people want to hear to make them feel good. Warm fuzzies is not what ministry is all about. My aim is 2 Timothy 4:2 "Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and careful instruction."
This is my biggest complaint regarding the emerging church. My fear is this new movement has itching ears and only wants to hear something good and positive. Scripture is not held high and pastors, men called by God to preach, are not respected. I have searched dozens, probably hundreds of websites and blogs and those two concepts are prevalent in most of them. I fear 2 Timothy 4:3-4 is their creed, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to myths."
I pray that I am never one of those teachers that are surrounded by people who want their egos stroked, people who want to feel good after a rough week, people who aren't doing any ministry for the Kingdom except to warm a pew. You know, that doesn't make you popular. I am sure Joel Osteen and others wouldn't be where they are today without scratching a lot of ears. Paul continued his advice to Timothy in the next verse, "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
Maybe a good sermon title would be, "No ear scratching here."