Monthly Archives: August 2013
In our service to God, there is always a tendency of wanting to do more. People who are successful, want to expand their work. Those who do not see much results want to try other new ministries to make them work. As such, no matter we are effective or not, our work keep increasing.
Perhaps, there is pressure to do more for God. Well, there are surely lots of work that can be done for God. We may feel that we have let God down if we do less. There are also those who compare themselves with others. Since others are doing so much, they ought to be doing more as well. Some others feel guilty if they do not do enough. These people hardly have time to rest. There are also those who want to be involved in everything. They do not like to delegate the responsibilities to others. Either they are perfectionists or that they are crazy over power and authority. There are also those who are very capable and their work just keep expanding. But yet they face a shortage of manpower. They are so busy that they do not have time to raise leaders to support their work.
Whether by our own choice or not, we have become so busy. Hopefully we still have time to come to Jesus to find that spiritual rest. But some may just be pushing themselves too hard. Perhaps, what is needed here is a change in our worldview. We must realized that doing more is not always better. Rather than seeing Jesus as a model for living a busy and hectic lifestyle, we should be seeing Him as a relational man who always availed Himself. He was never in a rush to meet deadline. His schedule was never so tight that He could not minister and teach the multitude. He did not even have a secretary to help Him take minutes or arrange His schedules. He did all things by Himself. He never acted like a CEO of today. He was a simple carpenter.
Perhaps, we have to ask “What would Jesus do?” if He is a minister today. Would He live the kind of lifestyle we live today? Will He get busier than us? Probably not. At the end of the day, we may have to admit that our ministry is modelled after the world rather than Jesus. We have used the lens of the world to interpret that Jesus lived a busy and hectic lifestyle. But yet Jesus was always quick to reject ministry opportunities given to Him. He could have made it bigger and better. But He did not. He just wanted to concentrate on those things the Father told Him to do.
The trap we are in today is that we are trying to do too many things, so much so that we are being spread too thinly.
Jesus, on the other hand, was very focus in His ministry. He never allowed Himself to be spread too thinly. He wanted to do the work entrusted to Him well. He never rushed in a conversation. He never rushed to make someone says the sinner’s prayer. He never rushed to get people to serve. He just patiently called those who were His. He trained them and challenged them. He built relationship with them and walked with them. What a contrast!
It is time we take a step back and see as Jesus saw, minister as Jesus ministered and serve as He served. Do not rushed our way to Jesus.
Preaching is often taught technically. We learn about finding the main idea, the subject questions, the main points and sub-points. We learn to preach inductively and also deductively. We learn about exegesis and exposition. We use Hebrew and Greek. We spice it up with illustrations, examples and analogy. We put in our applications and response. Well, we may think that we have a great sermon after spending so much time preparing for it. But it may not have turned out the way we want it to be.
The problem may lie with the audience. They may not be attentive. It’s possible, but let us put this issue aside first. Let us also put the work of the Holy Spirit aside since it is a constant factor. God can surely work through any kind of sermons we preached. But here we need to address another aspect.
We all know that sermons are prepared through prayers and meditation besides the technical aspect. But how we deliver it is important as well. Due to the technical aspect of the preparation, many sermons are preached to the head. It may tickle our minds but it may remain as a knowledge. This kind of sermons are probably too cognitive. Some other sermons are targeted at the hands. They have various steps and methods to do the word. But we run the risk of doing a lot of things without being transformed within. Besides preaching to the head and hands, it is also equally important to preach to the heart. Our sermons need the Spirit of God, but they also need their ‘souls’. This is the emotive and affective elements of the sermons. Our sermons must be relevant, but they should touch lives too.
Preaching at the heart is not just a matter of content. Besides making the sermon meaningful, the delivery is important too. We can only give our sermon a soul if God has spoken to us and convicted us. The sermon can only become alive when our souls are in it. We begin to feel for the sermon and become passionate for God. We would feel the power of God flowing through us as we deliver His word.
We might not have been taught about this issue, but it is definitely a critical one. This prevent sermons from becoming boring and distant. It brings the word of God alive and close to our hearts. Work on this and see how the response may change.
Some disciples may be involved in many areas of services, yet they may not have built deep in their spiritual lives. They need the recognition and the busyness to prove their worth in God. Others need the continual manifestations of miracles, signs and wonders to excite them and keep them going. Some as leaders, interpret the word wrongly and speak according to the meaning they want the Bible to say. Others misquote the Bible and use the verses out of context. We also see leaders running the church as if they were magicians or CEOs. All these problems may not be new, yet little has been done to address them. Why? This is because those who do things in this manner firmly believing that they are doing the right thing.
As such, it is not enough to just build our spiritual lives deep. We can possibly build our lives on the wrong foundation altogether. It is important that we must get it right too. These days we see false teachings becoming more and more prevalent. But sad to say, churches are not making much of a stand. When some prominent figure appears, churches would tend to support regardless of what kind of background the person is from. Sometimes, churches are even not aware of the background of the person. Take the Prosperity Gospel as an example, it can camouflage itself as a sound teaching so well that even the evangelical churches may not be aware of it. Now, there’s the gold dust phenomenon happening in churches. Many Christians are not even asking whether it is biblical. They are not testing the spirits or see whether it is of the world. People are just fascinated and taken in.
It is time for us to be careful of liberalism again. Secularism, consumerism, pragmatism and syncretism have crept into the church subtly to dethrone Jesus. We must be able to read the times of today. We cannot afford to follow the trend blindly. We need to continually search our hearts and test every spirits that come our way. Do not assume our positions and views are always right. As we build deep, make sure we build it right too. There’s nothing better than to go back to the Source.