A Posture of Preaching-Ephesians

9 Jan

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Maybe you have experienced this. Someone stands up in front of a group of people and reads 1 to 15 sentences. Taking somewhere between five seconds to a minute and five seconds. They then go on for twenty to forty minutes telling everyone what God is saying.

There is that saying, “better to be silent and to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” I think a survey of preachers will show that this saying carries quite a bit of weight to it. Anyone in my mind who stands up and tells others what God is saying and what God wants sets themselves up to look the part of the fool. It is usually quite easy to see if a preacher is being conformed into God’s image as he studies the scripture or rather whether god is being conformed into the image of the preacher.

I had this experience several months ago when I was watching my nephew Andrew. I opened up a bag of Hot Cheetos and put a few of them on a paper plate. We sat back and watched Toy Story the tenth anniversery edition on the DVD player. After snacking a bit on the chips Andrew turned to me with a concerned look on his face. He looked at me and asked for apple juice concluding his sentence with the words, “I’m spicey.”

Upon remembering that I was feeding him Hot Cheetos I asked him, “You mean that your mouth is hot?” He responded back, “uh-huh, I’m spicy.” He was trying to convey something that was going on inside of him that was true yet he didn’t quite have a handle on a language that allowed him to communicate in a way that made sense. I think that often takes place within the life of the preacher. He will engage a text during his study and as a limited human being he simply won’t be able to communicate with any sort of perfection because he is limited. Not only that but because of all the other things going on in our lives we never approach the text objectively.

So what does this mean? Should no one ever stand up and say that this is what God says? Yes and no. I think that we have to be extremely careful of giving God credit for our thoughts. But we still need to speak, with a sense of humility. Maybe we acknowledge that what we are saying is the first word and not necessarily the last word. The preacher should freely admit that there may be many times when he is speaking, while he may be fully convinced, that all his audience hears is “I’m spicy.” As far as telling people what God has told them to say. I think that there are moments when people are speaking in which you know that their words and God’s words are the same and it has nothing to do with them prefacing it with “God told me.”

So to those who lead. It’s good to acknowledge that we are “spicy” at times. We are processing things and learning and being transformed. If we don’t remind them of this they may pick up our “spicy” language further alienating them from their culture. Let’s have the humility to be open about that. It doesn’t mean that we throw conviction out the window, but we learn to listen to others and perhaps as we listen to others discuss what we called “spicy” they may give us a better working vocabulary.

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One Response to “A Posture of Preaching-Ephesians”

  1. Jeremy January 10, 2008 at 9:54 am #

    Good point. I think that when we learn to listen to others we can gain a perspective that we may have missed in preparing for a message we are giving. But it is kind of awkward when you open up the floor and someone says something incredibly off base. How do you affirm the person in your response and at the same time make clear to those in the crowd that you completely disagree with what they just said?

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