Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Preaching: 1 Difference Maker made famous by Jesus, Paul, and Stephen

I love preaching, teaching, and communicating. Chances are, you do too.

And I have noticed this about preaching; sometimes people preach hard and it connects.. You hear God Word's preached with passion, accuracy, and humility and wow... God really uses the speaker as a vessel.

And sometimes people preach hard and they come across a little jerk-ish.. A little hypocritical. A little like the preacher had it together and we (the audience) needed to get up to his level asap..

So...Is there anyway we ensure we connect more and come across jerk-ish less?

Yesterday, God reminded me of a simple principle that enables us to have a better chance of connecting when we preach God's Word.

"We have to genuinely LOVE our audience."

Not like. LOVE.

This sounds like a no-brainer principle, but stay with me for just a minute and my prayer is that God reminds you of what He reminded me of yesterday..

Jesus, Paul, and Stephen. What do they have in common?

1) They preached HARD..

Jesus- need I illustrate?

Paul- boldly preached the Word and didn't pull his punches..

Stephen- told the Jewish council that you guys just crucified the Messiah and you missed it just like your ancestors did when they killed the prophets..

These guys preached HARD..
These guys connected.
But these guys LOVED the people they were preaching to..

Jesus, on the cross, asked God to "forgive them for they don't know what they are doing." He says this speaking of the people who arrested him, charged him on bogus crimes, and ultimately killed him. (Luke 23:34)

He LOVED them.

Paul- says in Romans 9, that if it were possible for him to go to hell for some of his jewish brothers (even though he knew it wasn't possible) so that they might receive Christ, he would do it..

He LOVED them.

Stephen while he is being killed by the people who didn't take kindly to his message, prayed "God do not hold this sin against them." (Acts 7:60)

He LOVED them.

They didn't kind of like the audience but loved to hear themselves speak..

They loved their audience and they preached hard.

And God used them and their ministries is AMAZING ways..

So as we teach, preach, speak, communicate (whatever you want to call it), this week;

May we preach the Word accurately and passionately..

And may we teach with THIS KIND OF LOVE for our audience..

Thankful God reminded me of this yesterday,


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Make a Ripple...

God reminded me of a conversation today I had with my youth minister, Ben, when I was a student. We both listened to John Reuben occasionally as nerdy youth ministry fans do and Reuben once poetically said something to the effect of---

"I'm not trying to change it all, I just want to make a ripple".

And I remember Ben telling me that ALL he wanted to do was"make a ripple."
To be used of God mightily for his glory..
That's all he wanted..

And I remember thinking at first; selfishly I want more that that...
But then I thought about that much later as Ben always caught on to things quicker than I did, and frankly still does. And I realized what a worthy goal: To make a ripple.

To be used of God in whatever way He sees fit.. THAT is a worthy life goal.

Not as concerned with the results; but the process.

God use me however you want to for YOUR glory.

"God, just let me make a ripple."

Well today, that fire has been re-lit in my belly. I have also spent some time pondering on people who have poured into me and have helped shape me into the man I've become.

I thought of 5 people:

1 & 2: My parents.

3. Ben Hackler

4. Mark Robinson

5. Steve Speer.

These people have at least made a ripple, I know because God has used them over and over again in MY life.

So, my challenge for you is this:

1) Make it a goal of yours to make a ripple.

   To be used of God in whatever way He sees fit. All of you for All of Him.. To be Ben, Mark, or Steve to someone else.. Ask God to use you in that way today even if you feel incapable..

Ask God to use you to make a ripple..

I know it makes a difference.. That its worth it. The sacrifice. The intentional discipleship..

Because I wouldn't be who I am today if it weren't for these 5 ripple makers.

2) encourage people today that have been used of God mightily in YOUR life.. 

Sent them a text, or message, or take em out to coffee next week. Something. Let em know that God has used them in your life.. It may be just what they need today...

To know that they have at least made a ripple for His glory.

                        So.... Who has God used mightily in YOUR life?