God’s preacher Jonah wasn’t happy with his assignment to proclaim the Word of the Lord to those wicked Ninevites. He was so unhappy about it he rebelled against God’s command by going the opposite direction from where God wanted him to be.
Those of us who preach are often ultra-critical of Jonah. We talk about how he deserved to be swallowed up by that great whale. How in the world could he not want the people of Nineveh to be saved? How in the world could he not want to proclaim God’s saving message to everyone?
Before we jump on Jonah too much we need to look in our own mirror. Is it possible that we are more like Jonah then we would want to admit? My guess is that there are some preachers who are reading these words who have a deep understanding of what Jonah was thinking. There are probably some of you reading this who feel you would rather be swallowed by a whale than preach to those terrible sinners this Sunday?
As preachers we are often called upon to pray for people during the most difficult days of their life. Maybe you’ve been called upon to pray before a High School Ball game, a special ceremony in your area, or even in the halls of some government meeting.
We always consider it an honor when we are asked to pray for others. But what about our prayers that are not a part of our “assigned” work? What about our personal prayer life?
It seems that one of the most crucial times for us to offer up petitions and requests to God is before we preach. Do you talk to God before you talk to others? May I encourage you to pray today about tomorrow?
Pray that God’s Word will change hearts and lives. May we never forget that the power is not in our abilities, our knowledge, or our charisma. The power is always and only in God’s life-changing Good News (Romans 1:15-16).
Why is there so much violence in our world? Why do we have to see wickedness, sin, and destruction? It seems like there is strife and contention all around us. Doesn’t anybody care about laws anymore? And what about justice in our world? It seems like justice is not upheld but rather is perverted. Why does it seems like wickedness is winning???
Questions like these are in the conscience of our nation. The blogosphere, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts, and the news are all saturated with these very thoughts. However, the questions raised here are not from the news or a blog. They were asked by one of God’s men more than 2,500 years ago.
When you read these words from Habakkuk, you would think that he’s been reading our mail (or our blogs, or our news)! You would think he is writing about modern-day America. Like many today, this man of God is crying out to the Heavens, “Do You hear my prayers, why won’t You answer?” He wonders aloud if God knows what is going on in the world. He wonders if God cares, and he cries to God, “Why aren’t You doing something about this mess?”
On Sunday by the power of God, Jesus burst forth from the grave.
On Sunday the Holy Spirit showed His great power by indwelling the Apostles in Jerusalem.
On Sunday people from everywhere gathered to hear the Word of the Lord.
On Sunday Peter preached a powerful, convicting sermon.
On Sunday thousands were baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins.
On Sunday God began a movement that would forever change the world and impact the world like no other movement in the history of mankind.
On Sunday people will gather together in homes, in rented buildings, on ships, and in large facilities to worship our Creator.
He was a gentleman. He was a man of God. He was an outstanding teacher. He was a marvelous mentor. He was kind to everyone.
Brother Winford Claiborne was one of our major professors when we were students at Freed Hardeman University. My first impressions included his great smile, how often as well as how kindly he spoke of his wonderful wife Molly, his wonderful spirit of humility, and the fact that I had never been around any person who read as widely as brother Claiborne!
It was his obvious love and commitment to sister Molly that caused us to ask him to do our pre-marriage counseling for us. We were blessed by being able to go into their home. It was a home filled with love for the Lord, love for one another, and love for others. It was a home filled with joy. It was warm and welcoming. Those times established a bond between us that lasted until they both passed.
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FULL DISCLOSURE: I got this post from Adam McLane and edited it for our blog.
You preach! You may preach a lot. However if you are like me, you wish you could be better. We all want to preach better, because we want to do our best for the Lord. How many Sunday nights have we just sat and wished we were better? How often on Friday afternoon have we wished we could be better? We know we’ll never be the best preacher in the brotherhood, but we sure wish we could be better. We attend lectureships, seminars, we read books and listen to others yet, it seems, no one ever says – “Here is how you do it!” How many times have we listened to some other guy and wondered, how’d he learn to do that? Well, we did too. The “better” conference is a two day seminar for preachers who want to be better at the skill of preaching. This is not a seminar to discuss positions on issues. Better! has a singular focus – to provide the tools and information to help you better present the Gospel…to preach better. It focuses solely on the CRAFT of preaching. We have invited guys who are some of the very best at the craft of preaching to talk about what they do exceptionally well.
The dates for “Better:- Texas Style are September 9-10, 2013. We will begin at 1:00 on Monday and conclude at Noon on Tuesday. The location is the Lewisville church building in Lewisville, TX. Speakers who are already confirmed include; Jay Lockhart, Stafford North, Howard Norton, Harold G. Taylor, Charles Hodge, Denny Petrillo, Chuck Monan, Dale Jenkins. We are thrilled about this group of speakers.
The cost is $59.00. This cost offsets only a portion of the seminar. We hope you will join us. We hope your congregation will help make it possible for you to attend. If you want to attend but can not pay the registration amount please let me know. We have a few people who will help make scholarships possible. This registration fee does not include housing. We will provide a list of area hotels if you are interested.
We hope you will make your plans to attend this seminar. We hope we will all be “BETTER” for it. You can register through Eventbrite. Here is the link. http://better13texas.eventbrite.com/
If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at any time.
It seems like it was about two-thirds milk and one-third coffee, with several spoons of sugar thrown in for an even richer taste:) It was, with all due respect to ELF, “The World’s Best Cup of Coffee!”
It happened at most once or twice a year. We would make the two hour drive to visit our grandparents in North Alabama. It was always the highlight of the year for us. We loved being in their home. There was something special, something magical about that house!
Usually it was just a day or two, maybe a week at the most, but when we were there I would get up early in the morning and sit on at the kitchen window with my maw-maw. She would make that special cup of coffee for me and I would sit with her and watch my paw-paw leave with his employees for the work day.
She would tell me all about what the men would be doing throughout the day. I would ask questions and she would patiently answer every question. I thought that my “maw-maw,” was the most fun person in the whole world.
Even though there were several other grandchildren in the house I believed that she was just interested in me.
What I learned later in life was that she would have done the same for any of her grandchildren and there were times that she spent special time with each of them.
Our Father in Heaven sent his son to die for the whole world (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Jesus gave his life a “ransom for all.” (1 Timothy 2:6)
While it is true that God is the Savior of “all men” (1 Timothy 4:10), there is definitely a unique characteristic to the relationship he has with His followers.
As we gather for worship, may we be reminded of the fact that Jesus is the Savior of all, but the relationship we have with him through his covenant is special indeed.
Father, help us to be mindful of the fact that you gave your Son for everyone. Help us never forget the unique relationship we have through the covenant of His precious blood. In Jesus Name, Amen.