Gospel Preaching

…you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him.
                                                                                      —Acts5:28

Ever sat down and pondered this whole “preaching the gospel” thing?

I’ll admit that I never really have. Until last night.

On the phone with a pastor from Brasília who I was told had an interest in working as an evangelist in Ubaúna, I was struck by his business-like, even chavlier, attitude. He seemed to be weighing a career-advancing opportunity as opposed to being called by Yahweh to change the world.

And it was that perceived attitude that propelled me into this thought process.

I’m afraid that most of us see this whole Jesus thing in that light. It’s something we do, not something we are. Reading through the book of Acts this week, I’m struck with the response of the early followers of Jesus. They literally put it all on the line – belongings, finances, relationships, everything. They suffered, financially and physically; but . . . the apostles left the high council rejoicing that God had counted them worthy to suffer disgrace for the name of Jesus (Acts 5:41).

Those of us who teach and preach, do we really expect God to show up when we open our mouths? Do we think that there is anything we can say that will cause someone who doesn’t believe to suddenly believe? Do we honestly antecipate an Acts 2 experience when we present Jesus to the unbelievers (those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all)?

My impending trip back to Ubaúna is heavily on my mind. What would happen if we went into that little village with the sincere expectation that Jesus is going to show up? Would there be a different response if we quit trying to make it happen and simply be available for him to use us?

What about in Wilmington, Greensboro, Dallas, Savannah, Milwaukee, or Atlanta? Are we willing to throw everthing out and simply embrace the power of the Word, the Spirit, the Lord? I care not one whit about the way things have always been done, I long for the fresh, daily truth of an everlasting Messiah.

I want it to be said that wherever I go, that place has been filled with my teaching about him — be it Ubaúna, Wilmington, or Timbuktu.

One response to “Gospel Preaching

  1. joe, you are on to something here. we need to stop “going” to church and “be” the church. We need to truly believe that the future is not a finished product and that our prayers will change the course of this world. Many, myself included, simply don’t believe that God is powerful enough to show up and make a difference! How sad are we! Jesus gave an example of praying, “If a son asks his father for some bread, will he give him a rock?” Please let me know what I can talk to God about concerning your trip/anything else.

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