The premise of these “Journey” posts is that we can only share from our spiritual “overflow” and that this overflowing comes from drinking deeply of the Holy Spirit. This “drinking” comes from our relationship with our Lord, so we have been taking a look at our spiritual practices. Specifically, I have been examining my practices and sharing the results with you so that you might take a look at your practices.
Preaching or teaching may seem strange as spiritual practices, but they are expressive spiritual practices, it’s just that they aren’t the ones most people are accustomed to. These are often things that we leave to the “professionals.” To date, no church has ever seen fit to have me as their regular preacher, and if you like, you are free to insert jokes here… However, many have seen fit to ask me to be a “fill in” for the regular guy. As for teaching, in churches, I have over 20 years of doing this regularly, or constantly, as the case may be.
Thinking back on it, both preaching and teaching have certain things in common, aside from the obvious. For one thing, both require a certain level of preparation. Second, both are in front of a group of people, and third, both involve the Holy Spirit to a large degree. If you ask preachers and those who train them, many will tell you that the Holy Spirit does His work in the preparation process; He leads you toward what He wants you to say and then you prepare that sermon. Many preaching ministers today then script and rehearse their sermon before delivering it. Sunday school teachers often do similar things to be ready.
I, on the other hand, do not subscribe to this approach. Instead, I carefully go over my text, determine its message in context, and then figure out what the main point is that it is making and think about a few points to back up my position, and now I am ready. The process seldom requires more that an hour. When I go up to teach or preach, the only notes I ever have is my text and I really don’t know how it’s all going to come out, but it always does; do you know why?
The reason is I have given the Spirit room to work, and I trusted Him to do so. He hasn’t let me down yet, and the response of the people is always amazing to me. Their reactions aren’t always what they say right then and there, it’s often what they say a week or two later; even a year or two, about how something that I said without planning to say it, changed their lives. This is the point where the Holy Spirit gives back to me in the sense that I am overflowing with the Spirit when this happens, can you see that? I may not have explained it very well…
I have a few testimonies I could share about this, but since I’m already at about 500 words, I’ll save that for another post.
What I’m really trying to describe here is another form of listening to the Spirit. I wrote about listening last time, but here it is in a different application. The Bible tells us that when we share about Jesus, the Spirit will give us the words. I’ve heard enough “professionals” tell people that they have to memorize Bible verses and have a plan of how to present them to people when they are sharing their faith; Hogwash! Being a serious Bible student is something each of us should do, but you don’t need a script to share your faith. Can you guess what it is that you really need?
What you really need is faith yourself in order to share your faith. This is true if you are preaching a Sunday sermon in church, teaching Sunday school or simply sharing with a friend: Faith. Simple faith put into action while trusting God and believing His Word. It is so simple that most of us miss it entirely.
Next time, I’ll share that testimony.