Weekends are for Preachers

April 19, 2013

I’ve been thinking lately about the difficult task of preaching. Every Sunday we address many types of people. In my church on any given Sunday I will be preaching to unbelievers, apathetic Christians, passionate new believers, seminary students, mature Christians, missionaries, church planters, staff members, small business owners, and so many more. Also I will be preaching to children, teenagers, young parents, teenage parents, empty nesters, and grandparents. If that’s not enough, everyone in the congregation is experiencing different life situations. Some are going through tragedy, some are consumed with worry, some are exhausted with the pace of life, and some are tragically living with no sense of purpose.

How in the world do you speak into the life of a child while at the same time edifying the saint that has been walking with Jesus for 30 years? How do you inspire the newlyweds and encourage those celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary? How do you challenge the unbeliever while going deep into the text with the hungry seminary student? How in the world do you apply your text to the diverse situations people are facing?

The answer: Let the Word of God and the Spirit of God do the work! The Bible is clear that God works through His Word applied to the human heart by His Spirit. That’s the point the Lord is making to Ezekiel in the valley of the dry bones (Ezekiel 37). Paul wrote that when he preached the gospel it was accompanied with power and the Holy Spirit (1 Thess. 1:5). Our job is to unveil the Word and trust that the Spirit of God will encounter different people, from different backgrounds, in different situations, and grip their hearts with truth.

To be clear, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t work hard at application. We need to think through the text while keeping our people in mind as we try to apply the major themes of the passage to their lives. What I am saying is there is no way we can speak to every life situation because we don’t have the time or the insight into everyone’s lives. But God knows every need in your congregation and the Spirit will use the Word, faithfully proclaimed, to graciously address all your people.

So, systematically preach the Word and ask the Spirit to breathe life into your church. He will! That’s the beauty and the power of expository preaching!

Blessings,
Wade


The Missing Ingredient of Evangelism

April 5, 2013

This week I was reading through the Gospel of Mark and the Lord gave me some clarity on the issue of evangelism. I have been thinking lately about the task of evangelism in my life and in my church. I desire to be a powerful, Spirit-filled witness of the Gospel. I want to have good conversations with lost people about the cross and the empty tomb and the implications for their life. I want divine appointments like Philip experienced in Acts 8. I long to see the baptismal waters in our church stirred more because our people are actively sharing their faith and leading people to Christ.

The question is, Why do we struggle so to share our faith? I believe the answer, the missing ingredient if you will, is found in Mark 1:21-28. The Bible records that Jesus and his disciples came into Capernaum and on the Sabbath he was teaching in the synagogue. Verse 22 records that the people were astonished at the authority with which he taught. Then a man entered the synagogue possessed with a demonic spirit and Jesus cast the demon out! When the people saw this they were amazed at the power of Jesus’ teaching and his power over the demonic realm.

When the people encounter Christ, they were astonished and amazed. What happens next? The Bible records in verse 28 that the fame of Jesus spread at once throughout all of Galilee! They were so amazed by Jesus, they could not help but talk about him and share their experience. We see in this passage a simple but powerful formula for evangelism: Amazement=Proclamation=the Fame of Jesus!

The problem with our evangelism struggles is not methodology. We have more resources than we have ever had to equip us and assist us in sharing the Gospel. The problem is not opportunity. We are surrounded by lost people that need a Savior. The problem is we are no longer amazed by Jesus.

We are evangelists for all sorts of things. When we eat a great meal we want to tell others. When we see a great sports feat, we want to tell others. When we watch a great movie we want to tell others. The only conclusion we can draw from our apathy to share Jesus is we have forgotten how great he is.

We need the Lord to reawaken wonder in our lives at the person, work, compassion, and power of Jesus! When we are astonished by Jesus anew and afresh we will naturally share him with others. As we share our amazing Savior, his fame will spread quickly through our families, our communities, and our world.

So let’s ask God to rekindle an amazement for Jesus in our lives. When that happens we will be powerful, consistent witnesses of the glorious Son of God, the only hope for sinners!

Blessings,
Pastor Wade