I received a letter from my brother with a copy of a message he had shared with his congregation that touched my heart. In the letter he granted me permission to share this message with anyone I wish.
The part I will share with you concerns pastors. There has been much said on this site lately about pastors in particular and ministers in general. There is much truth in the proclamation of apostasy in this last day church. There is also a responsibility all members of the body share in this apostasy and a responsibility to His ministers whom He has called and ordained.
The following is quoted from his letter with only some names being altered for their privacy :
Bible students went to hear the great Charles Spurgeon preach while he was in London. They arrived at the church early and met a man who said he would show them around. While taking the tour one of the students said, "If you had to name one reason for the powerful and anointed preaching of Charles Spurgeon, what would it be?" He said, "Come on boys and let me show you the heating room in the basement."
They went to the basement and he opened 2 large doors to the "heating room." There were 700 women and men kneeling in prayer. They were all praying for Charles Spurgeon and his message that would be preached on that day. The man looked at the bible students and said, "I am Charles Spurgeon and this is the room the power of my preaching comes from."
The Bible has much to say about praying for leaders of the church.
Paul was in prison when he wrote 4 different letters. They were to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon.
|"Don't forget to pray for us."|
It is so easy to take things for granted and forget to do them. I would ask each of you to set aside a time on Saturday and Sunday morning to pray for me.
While my wife and I were visiting in Waco a couple years back, we went to a church with my son and daughter-in-law that was located in a run down neighborhood. A black minister got up to preach. He said, "When I grew up I lived in a 2 room house that only had one cooking stove for heat. All us children would gather as close around that stove as possible to receive the heat. It sure felt good on them cold mornings." He then said, "Would all of you who are right with God come down a little closer so I can be close to the heat?"
I'm asking all of you that are right with God to pray for me. I need it in my preaching and serving each week.
Paul says to pray for me so that he will proclaim the message as clearly as he should.
Billy Sunday once said, "I like to put the cookies on the bottom shelf so even the little children can get one." He was referring to the presentation of the Gospel in such a way that even little children understood what he said.
A preacher once told me that if you preach a sermon that everyone understands, it will pay off in two ways. One way is that everyone listening will understand what was said. Another way is that those that think they are so much smarter than the pastor will feel good. They will sit around the dinner table and say things like, "Bless that preacher's heart. He is so simple until even a little child could understand what he was saying. Well, I guess everyone didn't have the opportunity to be educated like me."
In Luke 19, Jesus tells the parable of the King's 10 servants. The 3rd servant in this story did nothing with the money Jesus had allowed him to have. In other words, he made no investment. He said, "I hid it and kept in a safe" , and then in C9, vs. 21, he said, "I feared thee because thou art an austere man." Austere means hard or strict. Everyone does not know what that word means. Have any of you used that word this week?
An old uneducated preacher was preaching a revival. His scripture was Luke 19:21. He thought that word "austere" was pronounced "oyster." He preached a message titled, "The Oyster Man", referring to Jesus. He described how when diving into the ocean to retrieve oysters one would plunge deep into the water, grapple around in the oysters, their hands would be cut and bleeding and then they would swim to the top holding the reward of their dive. He compared this to Jesus plunging down from heaven and being bruised, beaten, and crucified for our sins but then after His plunge He had the reward and that was souls to be won by Him giving His life for our sins.
After the service a professor with a doctorate degree walked up to the preacher and said, "That was the most butchered sermon of the English language I have ever heard. The word is "austere" and not "oyster" and it means hard, firm, or strict. That was an incorrect use of the English language and you should be ashamed."
The preacher said, "Sir, you can say what you want about me but the Lord used and the Lord retrieved 12 new oysters tonight." The Lord had used the message of an uneducated minister to draw 12 people into His Kingdom.
The Lord is looking for sincere hearts and surrendered hearts.
What about your heart? Has it been fully given to the Lord?
END OF QUOTE FROM LETTER
This message my brother preached really blessed my heart and I pray it does your's as well. It speaks directly and truly to a destructive condition in the body of Christ today. In all too many cases people tend to criticize and fail to pray.
Friends, from my heart I believe "CRITICISM " is of the devil and has no place in the heart of a believer.
Even of our enemies we are instructed to love them, bless them, do good to them, and pray for them. If this is so shouldn't it be so much more for our friends?
And a word from the Lord:
|"Touch not mine anointed and do them no harm."|
All of us one day will stand before the Lord and answer for every word which has come from our mouths. Careful what you say, especially when you are talking about God's anointed.
Instead of receiving a spirit of criticism take on a spirit of supplication. Instead of wasting your time criticizing and tearing apart, pray and build up.
You are a member of the body, a unique part which is necessary and important, do your part to build and not to destroy.
Instead of being a critical spirit choose to be a part of the body of Christ and build up. Pray for your ministers continuously and have faith in God. God will do the rest. If you are faithful to do your part there will be resolution, God's resolution.
This is the last day Church and the remnant is few in number. Keep praying for the Church as well.
Blessings to all,