Preaching

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January 11/Weekend

Friday, January 11th, 2019

Several years ago I read a book by Stephen J. Lawson entitled Famine in the Land. It was a call to stop the type of preaching so prevalent, and restore expository preaching to its place in the pulpit. It was a good wake-up call for me to recommit myself to expository preaching. It seems almost “prophetic” that the words of Amos 8:11 and words of G.C.Morgan (written over 100 years ago) have come true. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land-not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.”

“This famine of the lack of the Word of God…Not that God ceases to speak, but that man loses his power to hear. Not that God withholds His Word from men, but that men hear it, and never hear it…The church without the Word is a lamp without a light…Therefore the abiding need of the church is a knowledge of the Word of God, and an obedience to the Word of God.” (excerpt from pages 28-29)

This weekend I, and thousands of others, will stand in the pulpit and “preach.” Will I present God’s Word? Will I preach the Truth of God’s Word with man-made additions? Will I gloss over the Truth to tickle ears? Will I present the Truth as a meal to be enjoyed or cram it down their throat? Will I fudge on God’s Word to make it more palatable?

That is my challenge to me. My challenge to you is to go hungry and “demand” to be fed. Plead with God to be fed meat not candy. Insist on a full-course meal.

“Father, make me hungry for your Word. Make the deliverer of your Word respect it, love it, and present it with honesty and clarity.”

Your verse for the weekend: “Some trust in chariots and some trust in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.”  Ps.20:7

January 7

Monday, January 7th, 2019

I had what I consider to be the greatest privilege. Yesterday, I was privileged to stand before the people who came to worship and open the Word. What a privilege! What a responsibility! In the past I know there have been times when I have not taken it seriously. It comes easy to me to stand in front of people. And so I have stood in front of people-attempting to proclaim God’s truth-in my own power. I can sense though when I am done that there is/was an emptiness in my soul. I know it was done by me.

The Bible is plain: “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Tim.2:15)  I failed on those occasions in two areas: 1) I failed in my own heart. The Word had not penetrated me; and 2) I failed to correctly handle the truth. More often than not it was what “I wanted to say” not “What does God want to say through me?”

I was prompted this morning to do this reflection, this inward look, because of something I read by G. Campbell Morgan: :

We (I) had better never handle than learn it by letter without being obedient to its call and claim so that our lives may be transformed by its message.” (p.26)

The sad fact is that while I may have stood in the pulpit and done an “adequate” job, I missed out. If God’s Word did not hit my heart first, if it did not transform me, I was/am a “noisy gong and a clanging cymbal.”

“Forgive me, Father, for my ‘windbag’ approach. I had no more business being in the pulpit than the empty blowhards I so often criticize who demolish the truth of Your Word. From this day forward, transform me with your message before I step into the pulpit.”