Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Competition & Preaching Well

The book of Proverbs says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. I was beginning to feel sorry for Joseph Schooling as he lost several races until yesterday when he made a statement by clinching Silver in the 100m Butterfly. At one stage I thought he was going to get gold as Schooling went head to head with de Clos. And then I was treated with another great show, really icing on the cake when Jasmine Ser won 50m rifles at 1am, with the last shot, after 50 shots in all. I went to sleep happy. Why is competition important for excellence? Apostle Paul made this statement that "not everyone who runs wins the race, therefore run in a way that you may win". Is Paul condemning losers as second class Christians? I doubt it since Paul in another passage would extol weakness so that the power of Christ is made manifest. Yet Paul realizes that our spiritual walk is like a competition. Not that we compete or compare with one another. But we compete with ourselves. To strain every muscle to win the prize which is the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. To compete with ourselves means we give the best for the Lord in everything. To pray as effectively as we can and as devoutly as we should. To preach the best we can, not comparing with others but with ourselves. Have we maximized our time in preparation? Have we really studied the text in detail? Have we cried out for God's power without which all the knowledge in the world and all the homiletical skills count for bought? Unless we are anointed by God we are nothing and cannot achieve anything with our cleverness.

I attended a Preaching Conference for the past couple of days. In many ways it was a good Conference. I taught preaching once in a Bible College for a whole Semester. I travelled every fortnight to Ranau, near Mt Kinabalu and taught 41 students. I spent the first half of the Semester on the spiritual dynamics of preaching. The students were wondering when I was going to speak on expository preaching and other types and forms of preaching. I told them to be patient. I said the most important part about preaching is the spiritual preparation of the preacher. I taught them how to wait on God. I taught then how to listen to the voice of the Lord. I taught them how to engage in spiritual warfare in order that the words of truth be made known from heaven to them. I taught them how music and song helped to calm their spirits that they may listen to the still small voice. I taught them how to receive boldness from the Holy Spirit. Only after all these I taught them some homiletical skills and how to be persuasive speakers of God's Word with all the mannerisms as well.

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