Like many pastors, whether they’d admit it or not, I’m still in my little study/office with an open Bible, a note pad, some colored pencils, coffee that’s no longer hot, and a deep, yearning desire to hear from God.
It’s after midnight, and while many folk are already in bed, still partying, or watching another increasingly perverted installment of Saturday Night Live, I’m wiping away tears as I beg for the souls of lost young men and women, boys and girls, and adults who think there’s nothing left to hear that will change their minds about Jesus.
I know that I’m only human, but the task before me is inhuman; it is more than I can accomplish in my own strength with my own words. But I must try. I must depend on God’s endless grace and mercy. He called me, but He will empower me, speak through me, for I am but a vessel.
Nevertheless, I struggle, for the words I choose to say must adhere to a universal Truth, the gospel that transcends cultures and circumstance. It can’t – it MUST NOT! – be a message relevant only to those here in America, but a message of Truth that could fit right in to whatever culture in which it’s shared. Otherwise, instead of a universal Gospel, all I have is my opinion on an Americanized gospel which will be irelevant to some who may attend and hear nothing more than me pontificate.
The eleven o’clock hour at church, for many, is just another box on a list that must be checked off in order to earn a few religious brownie points. Rarely does one come, so it seems, expecting an encounter with the Living, Holy, Creator God. If I stand and preach in my own strength, with my own words, there’s no reason for any expectation.
But if I’m broken, humble, obedient, and yielding, not to mention passionate for the heart of my Saviour, and faithfully expound the Word of God, the universally applicable gospel of Jesus Christ, the Hope that is the same no matter where in the world a person is from, will be preached and, should the Spirit move, lives will be changed. That is my prayer.
There’s never enough study and preparation time, so for many like me, the dark and quiet loneliness of Sunday morning is the time to wrap things up, settle my heart with God, and pray, if nothing else, that I’m not a hindrance to the glorious work set before me.
Dear Father, may we experience an encounter with you. Where we will gather, please be in our midst. May we as Saul, as Ananias, as little Samuel, hear You call our names. May we also, with obedient and submissive hearts, say, “Here I am, Lord…what would you have me to do?”
May it happen around the world!