This morning I was in our church in Nijmegen, where fellow NazNetter David van Beveren is pastor. We had arranged this because he'd be present as well, and since he's my mentor as a preacher, that would allow him to give better feedback (I usually preach when a pastor isn't there, of course)
But things went a little differently than expected today. People shared some personal situations that deeply impacted the service, and after David had led the pastoral prayer at the altar, I felt I could not preach what I had prepared. So I went to Romans 8 and Phillippians 2 and gave whatever words of hope and consolation I felt was contained in those chapters. And finished the service with the blessing from my wedding text: "And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
This was the second time I've had to preach another sermon, though the first time this happened, years ago, I made that decision before the service, in the prayer meeting, and I still remembered another sermon I had preached a few weeks before. This was different. I had nothing else on my mind.
The encouraging thing though was that less than 2 weeks ago I had this dream that I had to preach but didn't have a sermon. But God told me it was okay to go ahead, He'd give me the words. With that dream in the back of my mind, I felt I had to do this.
After all, speaking the word of God is never outside a context. You can't just pick any Bible verse and say, "Thus sayeth the Lord". The word of God is only the word of God if it is the right word in the right context. Let's face it, even the devil quoted the Scriptures. That certainly didn't make them the word of God in that context.
But glory to God! And gratefulness because He's been willing to even use this broken vessel.