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An individual asked me that question. And when I opened my mouth to answer, another individual quickly jumped in and gave an answer.
He said, “You should never ask a man that question, God will tell you. Just trust God. Ask him and he will tell you.”
A simple answer that is full of down home piety.
But is it true?
God will tell you what to preach.
Let me first say what I like about the answer. It is full of spirituality. It is full of belief in God. And it is full of just basic Christian belief in an all powerful God that will “Order our steps.”
OK, what do I not like about the question.
1) It assumes that there is nothing someone can do to get better at communicating the good news. That is something I fully disagree with otherwise I would not be creating this website.
2) It assumes that God will lead when you haven’t done all you can do. Ignoring help from all others is not the way to understand the scripture or anything else. In every other field of endeavor. I am right now learning how to sing. No one would tell me to forget about learning form others and only go straight to God to learn how to sing.
3) It assumes that everyone should even be preaching. Like it or not, it just ain’t some folks gift. We can learn no doubt, but some folks should be doing something else besides going into a pulpit. It is true, we all should communicate the goodness of Jesus and what has been done for us. It is also true, some folks just ain’t got no busienss in the pulpit.
4) It assumes that preaching teh gospel is solely and completely a divine endeavor. You know what, Your humanity matters in the preaching of the gospel. You know what your struggle with the text matters. You know what…What you been through matters. YOU…YOU…God chose you….
God could have chosen to write the Bible with God’s own royal fountain pen. And not allowed Peter’s a role. What if God didn’t allow John a role. How about Paul or Moses. Their roles mattered. Whether it was Luke who did research to create the book of Luke as it is written. Would you tell Luke he didn’t need to research?
Yes it is true that God will guide us and lead us as we teach the words we are called to preach. It is also true, that you have a responsibility. To put in time with the text. To study the full counsel to the best of your ability. To get help from other preachers and professors. It is important, and more than important, it is required.
So keep on learning, keep on getting better. And yes, God will tell you what to preach in the midst of that struggle.
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