by Frank Damazio
The greatest power ever known is the spoken word of God. It has called worlds into being, toppled empires, healed and comforted the sick, shaken the proud, and resurrected the dead. Yet in far too many pulpits and in far too many individual’s lives, that powerful word lies unopened, unspoken, and therefore uncomprehended. Preached or understood poorly, the word of God has more power than your opinions preached powerfully.
The Puritans made such an impact in their time and continue to influence our day with their writings, largely because they insisted that the preacher’s task is to feed their congregations with the contents of the Bible, not the dry husks of their own fancy, but the life-giving words of God. Here are five biblical functions of the preacher.
1. The preacher as a steward. A steward is the trustee and dispenser of another person’s goods, one who manages the household affairs, property, and accounts. This steward must be trustworthy because he is given a great level of authority. Titus lists the qualifications for a bishop, a high ranking leader, one of which is to be a “steward of God” (1:7). Stewards do not cut corners, they do not spread rumors about the family they serve, but they live absolutely above reproach.
2. The preacher as a guardian. The preacher is to carefully guard the Scriptures from harm and be faithful to dispense them. He or she is a watchperson devoted to keeping something well protected, as a watchman protects a city.
3. The preacher as a herald. A herald is a proclaimer of a message given to him by the one who he is under, a messenger sent to announce. This messenger stood before kings, military commanders, and ambassadors, conveying official messages. In the ancient world, the herald must be a person of integrity and character, since he would faithfully make all public proclamations. The king had to trust the herald to speak truth.
4. The preacher as a workman. Throughout the New Testament, believers are encouraged to “be diligent” in studying the Scriptures, presenting themselves to God as approved (2 Tim 2:15). To study has a much broader meaning than learning from a book. It also means to be eager, zealous, and diligent, making every effort to do your utmost. Studying is not so much about the process as it is about the spirit behind it.
You are a treasure house of God’s riches!
5. The preacher as a treasure house. This is one of the great benefits of studying God’s word. Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is like “treasure hidden in a field” (Matt 13:44), and Paul writes that we have “treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us,” meaning that God’s power, His truth, His wisdom and knowledge, and His Spirit are all given to us, especially as we pursue it. We are therefore a treasure house, containing the immeasurable riches of God!
You are given an important task – to preach the word of God. Be faithful to the message, study hard, and dispense the treasure that God has imparted to you
All leaders and Christ-followers are always on a journey of becoming more like Jesus in every way possible.
We have a spiritual hunger that resides deep within us and it is calling out to God in response to His invitation to come closer and deeper in His presence. There is a place in our worship where the waves of God’s presence can come upon us again and again until we find ourselves in “deep waters.” Worship is our pathway to deeper waters.
The presence of God that is revealed as we worship is like rain that refreshes. It is like rivers from which we can drink. How do we get into this presence? We come with worship, and worship is a heart issue. It starts with heart and flows from the heart. Worship is all about our love relationship with Jesus. Out of that relationship flows life-giving worship. The key to leading your church into deep waters is you first having a heart that is willing, thirsty and active in pushing out from the shorelines and deeper in worship.
Everyone must make a choice to push past their personal hindrances and distractions and wade into the deep waters of God’s presence with praise, worship and an open heart of expectation. If you want to wade beyond the shallow waters, you have to honestly acknowledge where you are. Maybe that’s simply saying, “I’m not where I should be or want to be.” Admitting where you are lets you identify what needs to be addressed if you want to move forward.
Our new confession should be “I thirst for more of God.” Thirsty people drink deeply. They worship with their whole heart. Every part of their life is dedicated to God. They pursue Him in their workplace, in their family relationships, at home, at church, in the car – everywhere.
Notice that when you are thirsty, you cannot get enough water to satisfy your desire. You savor every drop. The same needs to be true with us and God. We should thirst for God so that when we drink, we take in the fullness and richness of His presence and we cannot get enough of it!
Are you thirsty for God’s presence? Does your soul long for Him? You don’t have to be in a worship service at church to experience His presence. You can drink it in even now and take it with you as you go your way today. Deep thirst moves you deeper into His presence.
CHARACTERISTICS OF HUMBLE PEOPLE
A life that honors God honors the principle called humility. Humility is an attitude of being gentle, considerate, kind, and gracious, putting others in front of self. The process of humility begins when you realize that everything is not about you. People who honor humility don’t think less of themselves, they just think of themselves less.
The Bible shows us several examples of humble people, one of those being Moses. Moses described himself as the one who most fully exemplified humility. He did not say that about himself out of pride or arrogance, but out of gratitude to God for the various trials he underwent in order to develop the high level of character he had.
Here are three characteristics of a humble person that can be observed in Moses’ life.
1. Nurtures a broken spirit
To the natural mind, that which is broken is unfit for use and should be thrown away; but to God, brokenness is of high value. A broken spirit quickly recognizes conscience violations as a result of a clear, soft conscience. It quickly discerns what is amiss, like a broken bone out of joint, and quickly makes an adjustment.
A broken spirit is pliable and able to be fashioned. On the other hand, a hard heart is not impressionable – you cannot work on it. A broken heart is soft and easily penetrated. A broken spirit is in a person who is submitted to God, obedient with joy, easily bent to humility, and not reactionary.
2. Receives second chances
Have you ever made a mistake? We are all failures – well, at least all the best of us! People fear failure and think failure is a stigma, that it is final. But it’s not. Failure is the school for humility. It sets up a second chance.
The difference between greatness and mediocrity is often how an individual views a mistake.
3. Does not react to criticism, accusations, or slander
Moses was reproached without cause and falsely accused by his own family. Moses’ response was silence. He did not resent the attack made upon him or attempt in any way to vindicate himself or take revenge.
Take criticism as potentially allowed by God to make you better. Take it as testing what buttons are still active in your carnal nature.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SEEK
“Paul was a seeker and a finder and a seeker still. Some seek and find and seek no more.” –AW Tozer
Are you a seeker in search for more of God? Does your soul thirst for more of God? As worshipers, we move from the dry land to the land of rivers, wells, brooks and streams. The thirsty soul is the one that pushes into deeper waters. There is a call of the Spirit that is tugging on our hearts, inviting us to go deeper. How will you respond? With a deep thirst that moves you toward the deep waters?
When our physical bodies fail to retain the right amount of water, dehydration sets in and we lose strength and energy to perform normal daily functions. As spiritual beings, our souls require the water of God’s presence. The deep waters place is where we have a spiritual encounter with God that transforms our lives. It is the place where we worship God with heartfelt passion and insatiable thirst for more of Him.
Here are a couple facts about worship.
1. Worship goes deeper when your soul is pursuing God.
David wrote, “As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You O God” (Psalm 42:1). The word “pants” means a strong yearning, longing that does not allow you to stop short. It pushes you with a desire that will not be satisfied until it finds the cold waters. Our souls must pant for God.
God creates the desire, but we must cultivate it. God puts a desire for pursuing Him in us. He draws us. The impulse to pursue God originates with Him. Our pursuit of God is the outworking of that draw. When we respond to the thirst, God meets us.
2. Worship goes deeper when your soul is thirsty for God.
This is extreme desire, an insatiable craving. An empty soul tries to fill its desires with everything except God, fulfilling selfish desires.
Thirst may not be felt every moment, but in some sense there is a thirst in every soul. God did not make us to be content in our natural condition. To some degree, everyone wants more than they have now. What is your level of thirst for God?
by Frank Damazio