I came to you in weakness—timid and trembling. And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit.
~1 Corinthians 2:3-4, NLT
The creative power of redemption comes through the preaching of the gospel but never through the personality of the preacher.
I heard a part of one of Joel Osteen’s sermons the other day and I have to be honest; I was impressed by his giftedness. He is smooth, very articulate and a great communicator. There is only one problem, he is not being honest. My Sundays are pretty much the same. I get excited about the message, and I do enjoy preaching but I am seldom impressed with what I said or how I said it. Then I hear other preachers who are smooth, articulate, and the words just seem to flow from their lips. They have that golden tone, the radio voice like a James Earl Jones and I sit and listen to them with envy. Last Sunday evening when I went to the office; I read two devotions that were on the same subject. Both Oswald Chambers and Charles Stanley were talking about preachers and their ability to communicate.
Stanley said, “God is not looking for charisma, charm, persuasiveness or even a brilliant mind: what God is looking for is someone who is sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit; someone who is humble at heart and willing to serve; someone who will pour themselves out for the sake of Jesus and others and someone who is willing to suffer for Christ’s sake.” Chambers said, “Anything that flatters the preacher makes him a traitor to Christ.” I am not sure I understand what he means but I am pretty sure it means we should not crave compliments. I am always praying, “LORD lay Your anointing on me, the way you did Elijah…I want power in the pulpit.” I have also had strong doubts as to whether or not God could trust me with His power. The best thing to do is just keep preaching the gospel and stop worrying about results. I am convinced, only God knows the results.
When I was in my early twenties, I was introduced to an older pastor who had a Phd. After the introduction, he said to me, “I hear you are the greatest preacher since Paul.” I didn’t know whether he was making fun of me or just didn’t know the bible. I am sure it was some form of cheap flattery. Paul was not a great preacher by his own admission, but he was the greatest of the Apostles. The Corinthians said of Paul, “His letters are weighty and powerful; but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech is contemptible.” I would not take that as a compliment. This doesn’t mean that if Paul showed up at the POINT this Sunday, that I would insist that I preach to him. No, no, no, I would take my seat on the front row and listen.
Tried to get a few things done while I am on the steroids and have this extra energy. They have worked. There has been no swelling in the past several mornings. It may come back as soon as the steroids are out of my system; we will see. We didn’t get much rain at 1120 Iron Man. We didn’t actually get the dust settled. The thunderstorms predicted for last night didn’t materialize either but that gives me some extra time to plow the garden.
I hope you have a great day and thanks for reading the blog.