Preaching: the power of words or of God...

A dear friend just lost his father. Following the funeral, he sent me this meditation. How we who preach and those who receive the Word need the power of the Holy Spirit:

For the kingdom of God does not consist in words, but in power. -1Corinthians 4:20

I was recently reminded of this verse, and of the power of preaching, at the wake for my father. My dad was a member of The Veterans of Foreign Wars, and they performed a brief, simple ceremony at the funeral home. There were six men there, and one by one they read a brief prayer or statement about a virtue associated with military service and placed an object on the casket--a sprig of evergreen, a red rose, and so on. Then the saluted the flag, and the casket. It was very moving, and very powerful. And I couldn't help thinking that here were six very average old guys, not tall, not distinguished looking, not great speakers, not remarkable in any way to outward appearances, but they had all served in the armed forces in time of war.

It was who they were as men, what they had done, which was special, and what their service meant to them that made the simple ceremony meaningful, and got you all choked up. How much more, the preaching of the word, in spirit and in power. It's not how you speak, or even what you say in a way (you don't need to be original) but who it is that is saying it, what it means to them, and with what authority they speak.

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and fifteen grandchildren.

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When my father died,ten years ago, we also had a quiet, small group from the VFW that came and honored my Dad with a wonderful poem, and tribute about a fallen commrade. Dad volunteered in the Navy during WWII and fought in the China Sea.. It was so nice for these men to remember and honor a man and men who chose to keep us free on this earth. I thank God every day still that my Dad was my earthly father. Dad was a true gentleman's gentleman and today he is still spoken of in high regard because he loved the Lord with all his heart and took on the task and bond of marriage; and what a true father should be when he was raising children.

Suzi

This is sort of off topic, but is there any way the two of you pastors could start a series of posts on how Christians should approach the 2008 presidential election? Many of us feel that there's no candidate we can really support at this point. Many of us had been eagerly looking for Fred Thompson to join the race, but now it seems as the more we find out about him, the less appealing he seems to be to Christians. There's a lot of rhetoric on his part, but I don't see much substance in his actual record. The rumors that he takes it up the rear end that the Atlantic Monthly website recently brought to light sure aren't going to help, nor will the huge role he played in limiting free speech by pushing McCain-Feingold. The more we hear about him, the more it sounds like he's not a genuine conservative at all, but simply an opportunits. Personally, I have friends urging me to vote Libertarian or Constitution, but I don't see how supporting parties that contain large elements of racists, would be drug legalizers, conspiracy kooks, etc, is going to help solve anything. What should Christians do in 2008? We need guidance.

Dear Rick,

David and I throw up our hands in despair. The American electorate is getting the candidates we deserve. We may have other thoughts later, but for now, any of our readers with advice, please contribute it for the common good.

On Bayly reunion vacation with David in Sawyer, Michigan,

Tim Bayly

I think this is a problem that will solve itself. It's a long way to November 8th, 2008, and Republican leaders are (perhaps barely) smart enough to realize that the current crop of front-runners leaves their biggest constituency largely sitting at home on election day.

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