It Is Not You

 "For it is not you who will be speaking - it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you." Matthew 10:20


Jesus spoke the above words to His disciples when He told them that one day they would be confessing Him before kings and rulers. For a group of men who all came from simple and mostly anonymous backgrounds, this was a daunting task. There are few if any who would not be intimidated by such a task. His assurance to them was that they needn't be concerned as to what it is they would be saying. They need only rely upon their Father, who, through His Holy Spirit, would give them the right words to say, in the most effective way, and that they would be words anointed and empowered by His Spirit. After Pentecost, these men, and those who walked and ministered with them, spoke and preached the words that turned the world upside down. Words that eventually toppled empires and transformed cultures. Words that still do the same today.
Words that are His words, coming from His heart. Words that He chooses to speak through vessels like you and me. And when He does, the experience is unforgettable.

I believe I have always looked to and relied upon Him to fill and direct not only my heart, but my mind and lips as well in the proclaiming of His words and thoughts. But never more so than just a few days ago when at the Memorial service for my brother, I was given the opportunity to share the words, thoughts, and heart of Christ to a room full of people who almost to a person, had never before heard the truth about this Man/God Jesus. Who it was who sent Him, and the work of grace He accomplished for them at Calvary.

In the crowd were people of every persuasion. In addition to high powered executives and corporate salesman, there was a Hindu couple. There was also a Jewish couple, with the wife having a grandmother who was a Nazi concentration camp survivor. I knew beforehand what the makeup of my listeners would be, and like the disciples, the task was a daunting one. So, I prayed, I prepared, and when the moment came, I spoke. And that is when I learned anew, the truth and power of His words in Matthew 10. Just as real and alive now as they were then.

I don't really remember a lot of what happened. I had notes, but I couldn't seem to follow them. I spoke, but I don't really have much remembrance of what I said. Truth be told, I thought this had to be one of the worst "jobs" of preaching I had ever done. But it was at the end of it all that the Lord taught me what I had always known, but needed, as we all do, to learn anew; it is not me. It never is. It is Him. It is always Him.

I won't go into what the "results" of it all were except to say that the fruit of it was definitely proof of the power and presence of His Holy Spirit. The words spoken back to me proved that His Spirit had moved powerfully upon the hearts of all who were there. I believe He is still moving upon them. Deep seeds were planted in countless hearts. Seeds I believe will bear fruit. And He did it not because of me, but in spite of me. I was not up to the task, and that is the key; we never are, but He always is. In a day when the Church has come to so rely upon its own wisdom and work, we must, we have to, learn this anew. The unbelieving world is desperate not for new and better methods, but new and better preachers of His Word and Life. New and better men and women who can be and are, vessels of His Life and Power. 

In a church world with its focus on numbers, slick presentation, and the need to be "relevant," may we once more become simple vessels of a mighty message. I want to be such a vessel. Not only when standing in a pulpit, but when standing in line at the grocery, greeting my neighbor next door, and with whomever I encounter in my day to day life. Not for the purpose of saying I made a convert, but that through me, and you, He transforms a life. Living a life that trusts Him at all times, to give me words to speak, a heart to love, and a Life to share. May He raise up such a Church. May you and I be such a people.

Pastor O

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   May 2019   
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