Monday, May 16, 2011

Regaining Life in the Message

Acts 20:6-12  After the Festival of Unleavened Bread, we boarded a ship at Philippi. Five days later we joined them in Troas and stayed there for seven days.  (7)  On Sunday we met to break bread. Paul was discussing Scripture with the people. Since he intended to leave the next day, he kept talking until midnight.  (8)  (Many lamps were lit in the upstairs room where we were meeting.)  (9)  A young man named Eutychus was sitting in a window. As Paul was talking on and on, Eutychus was gradually falling asleep. Finally, overcome by sleep, he fell from the third story and was dead when they picked him up.  (10)  Paul went to him, took him into his arms, and said, "Don't worry! He's alive!"  (11)  Then Eutychus went upstairs again, broke the bread, and ate. Paul talked with the people for a long time, until sunrise, and then left.  (12)  The people took the boy home. They were greatly relieved that he was alive.

How has your passion been for the Message?  If you are a pastor, are your messages getting stale and cold? It is important that we keep the life behind the message burning. It is so easy to get burned out and miss what the Lord is trying to speak through us. Sometimes the messages become this long drawn out word that Holy Spirit did not speak through us.

Paul was teaching the people way into the night because he was going to leave the next day. Luke, the writer, states that Paul was preaching on and on. Paul must have been one of those long winded preachers. ( I am glad I am not one of those. LOL!) The teaching of the word was exciting to Paul and he loved to reveal the mysteries of Christ to the People. There was a young man, who at no fault to himself, got sleepy. He dozed off and fell three stories to the ground. This killed him instantly. Everyone was horrified by the accident. Paul walks down the stairs, holds the boy in his arms, and simply declares that the boy was OK and he is alive!. How awesome is that!!!!  What does this speak to us?  " The Power of God is present even in the midst of a boring sermon." No , No, maybe not that, but it shows that God is with us every hour on the hour. He showed up when Paul and this young man needed him the most. We need power like this in our message. The message without power is just a nice message. The People of God and the hearers need to see and know of the majesty of our God when we speak. The message should come across with such an anointing that the hearers are overwhelmed by God's presence. I must say that this does not always happen for me. Sometimes the message is dead. Partly it is due to my lack of Holy Spirit direction. Sometimes it was due to the hearers. The hearers have a lot to do with the how the message is received as well. If their hearts are not open and they are falling asleep spiritually then the message is not received.

Paul delivered a message that lasted all night but he needed something to help the message come alive. The boy's falling out the window was a perfect tool to bring the message home into the hearts of the hearers. Once the boy was resurrected Paul marches back up the stairs and preaches some more. Now how awesome is that!!!!! Our message comes from the Lord and is empowered by Holy Spirit. I believe if we are all truthful. There have been times where we preached without the anointing of God upon us. Do you know what you do when you are in those situations? PRAY and INVITE HOLY SPIRIT TO COME AND DIRECT OUR PATHS.

We have to be careful that we are speaking what the Lord is directing us. I have learned over the years that if the heart of the people are not open to receive the message at the time of the delivery then that is alright with me. I am just the messenger and Holy Spirit does the rest.

So how can we regain life in the Message?

1. Never stop being humble.  Many ministers forget where they have come from and preach down to the people of God. I would always tell the congregation. " I am not preaching at you; I am preaching with you." Allow the message you are feeling led to preach convict your heart as well. Make sure you show that vulnerability to the people of God. The message is more powerful when it is spoken from a humbled heart, so don't come across as an arrogant know -it- all.
2. Be prayed up:  The message God is leading you preach should be enshrouded by prayer. Pray for the message to convict hearts and to teach hearts. Pray that the Lord is magnified and that His truth comes out not human doctrine.
3. Let Holy Spirit reign: Many times we try to speak beyond what Holy Spirit is telling us to say. I always try to listen to Holy Spirit and allow Him to finish the message when He is ready. Now have I done that every time. I must say that I have not. There are times where I am so excited about what the Lord is teaching that I go further than what Holy Spirit wanted to. There are times where Holy Spirit wants to go a different direction, and I would take the easy road and preach the prepared message anyway.  Sometimes Holy Spirit does not want you to say anything. " Just because you can do something, does not mean you should."
4. Allow Holy Spirit to seal the deal: Let Holy Spirit minister to the hearts. He does a better job than we do. We try to force the issue and sometimes end up making a religious mess out of the whole ordeal. Holy Spirit, not you or I, is the one who convicts hearts. He is the one who teaches the word of God better than I could ever teach it. Once again, we are just vessels that Holy Spirit uses.
5. Include the audience: My greatest messages are when the people of God participate. I love it when Holy Spirit is giving them revelation,and they begin to share. It is an awesome time. When Christ started the church, he never intended for the believers to sit down and be preached at for about an hour each Sunday. He expected that all believers would participate in the message and become doers of the message. Our greatest times of revelation come from the collective utterance of the brethren.
6. Let the Passion flow:  Never let your passion and excitement for the Word of God to die down. You have to keep throwing wood on the flickering flames. You do this by reading the word everyday and by allowing Holy Spirit to teach you. Let that passion and excitement flow through your teaching and sharing of the message. I love the word of God. It has the answers for everything we do in life. I try to live by all of it not just some of it. Even the parts which are not always good to hear; I know I must follow and do. His word is powerful and offensive to the unwilling heart. That is why it is called a two-edged sword.

As ministers we are imperfect people sharing a perfected word. God uses us as His mouth piece to the world and to the church. That is why it is important to never forget where you came from. The life in message comes alive to the audience when we are walking in the life of the word and we are broken by it.

Keep sharing the truth and let nothing hold you back.


Blessings,

Johnny

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