Preach It by Stuart Briscoe

June 22, 2016 at 11:26 am | Posted in Books and Movies, Ministry | Leave a comment

I had decided at one time that I should read a preaching book at least every two years, but haven’t read any for quite some time.  After hearing Stuart and Jill Briscoe speak at our spring pastors’ and wives’ get-a-way, I picked up his book Preach It.  It has some great thoughts, some good humor, and some practical suggestions.  The best parts, however, are more about the preacher’s attitude than methodology.  And I thought I would share some of those here.

I spent a miserable few weeks second-guessing my decision to leave banking and concentrate on ministry.  One day I had a searing, troubling thought.  I wondered if I would ever be content if I could never preach again.  The thought persisted and eventually became framed in a question that seemed to come from the Lord himself: “Stuart Briscoe, what do you love most — preaching about me or me?”  It was a question I had trouble addressing, because I knew it would expose the motives behind my preaching, and I didn’t like what I was discovering about myself.  There was a certain excitement about preaching, a sense of being able to do something and do it reasonably well.  It was thrilling to be in demand.  . . .  A preacher’s motives matter more than a preacher’s methods.  If what is going on in a preacher’s heart is not right, what is coming out of his mouth will be all wrong.  (pages 77-78)

They are comfortable with their calling because they know it is of God and not of themselves.   They did not choose to preach.  They know that for reasons known only to God they were chosen to preach.  . . .  These preachers are comfortable with being gifted because the very term gift presupposes a giver.  They know that the Spirit distributes the gifts as he chooses, and he apparently chose them.  They have long since come to terms with the fact that this does not make them superior because of their highly visible gifting anymore than noses are superior to hearts because of their prominence.  . . .  They know that they cannot save a single soul, open a solitary blind eye, or turn anyone from darkness to light or from the power of Satan to God.  But they also know that God can and still does and that he uses people just like them.  . . .  They are excruciatingly aware of their inadequacy  . . .  No one need remind them of their unworthiness  . . .  [God] specializes in using such people because they are the only kind available.  (pages 172-173)

Maybe printing it here will help remind at least one other preacher of the amazing, overwhelming, yet humbling task we’ve been given.  May God be glorified in it.

Finally, on a lighter note, Briscoe quotes John Stott as saying that most preachers are “six days invisible and one day incomprehensible!”  (page 140)  I hope that doesn’t describe me!

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Spurgeon on the Preacher’s Prayer

June 14, 2016 at 9:07 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Personal Testimony | Leave a comment

Some words, from Charles Spurgeon, I need reminded of often.  I frequently feel the need for “much more grace than common men.”  I’m sure others in ministry feel the same way.

If there be any man under heaven, who is compelled to carry out the precept “Pray without ceasing,” surely it is the Christian minister. He has peculiar temptations, special trials, singular difficulties, and remarkable duties; he therefore needs much more grace than common men, and as he knows this, he is led constantly to cry to the strong for strength, and say, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.”

The minister who does not earnestly pray over his work must surely be a vain and conceited man. He acts as if he thought himself sufficient of himself, and therefore needed not to appeal to God.

Both of these came from Charles Spurgeon’s book Lectures to My Students.  I found them on the Focus on the Family website Thriving Pastor.  If interested, you can read the entire lengthy but excellent article here.

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