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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

In Spite of the Preacher

Genesis 11:6-7 (ESV)
6 And the LORD said, “Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”

Acts 2:7-12 (ESV)
7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Often someone tells me of something I have said in a sermon that I never said. That is not always good. Sometimes they tell me that I have espoused a heresy. Sometimes they tell me something so profound, so godly, that I wished I had said it. The two biblical events mentioned above help me understand where the understanding comes from.

I can expect that some people will be confused when I speak ungodly things. I wish I could say that every sermon I have preached has come straight from the heart of God. I have never consciously tried to say something I didn't think was godly during my sermons but I have done so without thinking. These words came from my fallen condition; out of my fallen heart. I wish everyone would walk out confused rather than take what I have said as God's word when this happens. I hope they have godly discernment when listening.

Lately, I have been asking-no, pleading with God- to be filled with the Holy Spirit before preaching. I know I should ask for this at other times but the need to convey a message from God is paramount in my life. Preaching is the time I have the greatest opportunity to introduce people to God's word. It is then that I have to have my mind completely set on the things of the Spirit if I am to have the power of the Spirit's delivery. It is then that I must humble myself to wanting what He wants so that I might see what He wants in me and through me.

An astonishing thing is happening. I am seeing more people asking how they might come to know Christ. They are doing so even though my sermons haven't been evangelistic. I tell them of the Christ I know and they are asking how they can know Him too. They are hearing the path to the Lord without my own words truly explaining it to them.

I know that I am not the most amazing preacher but I am hearing people tell me things I have said that I never really said. God is putting the things He wants them to hear in their language. He does that in spite of the preacher sometimes.

1 comment:

high-expressions said...

Hi Prentis,

I will leave the connectivity of what you experienced to the verses aside, but I just want to share I have had a similar experience in the last 2 Sundays. Of course, I am here, back in Singapore, you are at your side of the world, and there is no link whatsoever, except the same Lord workeths all the good things.

You know I generally minister to people in the areas where people need physical healing, emotional too, and generally, just to be whole; and it is my desire to see with wholeness, Christians could function better for the Lord, although I have ministered from my period of affliction (Apostle Paul did that, too). So, in my ministry, I am NOT particularly, trying to evangelise to non-believers, and my messages, if I do give, are NOT generally very gospel message-loaded, but are rather to build believers up. What I want to say is that, for the last 2 weekends, at both weekends, the Lord gave me the privilege to lead 2 persons through the Sinner's Prayer, one at each of the 2 weekends. Both persons were foreigners; one is an "Ang Mo" gentleman, and the other, a Burmese lady. Both salvations took place in church, but the sermons were NOT gospel-loaded.

I am thrilled when I see the ministee's leg grow to equal his/her other longer leg(!), but I am equally if NOT more thrilled, that one comes to salvation. Scripture said Heaven rejoices when one comes to the Lord. Afterall, physical and emotional healing, are but temporal, but the salvation is the permanent solution.

However that, that could happen, these 2 salvation cases, can appear a little strange to us, but of course, Bible explained that there are the sowing, and someone sowed, and there is the watering, and someone watered, and there is the harvesting, and the Lord gave me the privilege. At some point the fruit is ripe for plucking; and we are there and we pluck it, it is one more fruit for the Lord. Of course, the Holy Spirit is the one doing lots of the work behind the scene, even when there is the man's part of sowing, watering and harvesting. And indeed, it is up to the Holy Spirit to give you or me, that privilege of plucking the ripe fruit, nonetheless, we are still to be of the right attitude, to develop with the help of the Spirit, spiritual discernment, of seizing the opportunities God puts before us. It will be a pity, for example, that we miss it, the wasp comes to damage the fruit by burrowing into the ripe fruit.

I was there, especially for the huge “Ang Mo” man, and I thank the Lord for the seizing of the opportunities. If you or your readers like, you can hop over to read this newly put up article on my blog-site, where I talked about my experience. It is a bit long though, but it lets you know me a little more, and catch a glimpse of what is going on with my ministry life, of late. Here is the link (you have to copy and paste):

Perhaps, if the Lord is willing, I will pick many fruit for Him, in time to come. Or in the terminology of the Word, and the dreams the Lord had given me, in the past, many fishes, for Him.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions