A Pastor’s Reminder

May 30, 2017 at 12:43 pm | Posted in Books and Movies, Ministry | Leave a comment

I am quickly reading through a book one of our women asked me to look at, because they want to use it for the Ladies Bible Study next fall.  As a pastor, this paragraph jumped out as a good reminder not only for the listeners, but for the speaker as well:

When you hear a teacher, a pastor or a speaker utter a statement that rings so true it can only be God, then believe me, it can only be God.  No man or woman is wise enough, educated enough, or clever enough to understand and communicate the deep truths of God’s Word on his or her own.  It’s entirely a work of the Holy Spirit, and all the applause, all the praise must go to him.   –Liz Curtis Higgs in The Women of Christmas  (emphasis hers)

May God get all the praise and glory when he speaks through any of us, his unworthy creatures!

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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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