Thursday, June 5

Simply the Gospel.....

"And when I came to you, my brothers, I did not come with wise words of knowledge, putting before you the secret of God. For I had made the decision to have knowledge of nothing among you but only of Jesus Christ on the cross. And I was with you without strength, in fear and in doubt. And in my preaching there were no honeyed words of wisdom, but I was dependent on the power of the Spirit to make it clear to you: So that your faith might be based not on man's wisdom but on the power of God." 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 (BBE)

I can remember the first time I walked into the dining room converted every Sunday into the Meadowbrook Chapel to assume the mantle of Chaplain. I don't remember what the sermon was that I spoke, nor the context of what I was trying to impart to those who attended. I can only remember sheer fear at the thought of trying to be a teacher to saints that had more time in the church than I had in my lifespan. I'm not the most eloquent speaker, nor the most biblically knowledgeable amongst the Body, I just had a passion to pursue the Calling to which God imparted to me that October day back in 2004.

On top of that, this was a dear departed friend's ministry --sustained by his father, and this was his chapel. Not only did I not want to disappoint the saints of the chapel or God, but I didn't want to dishonor the memory of my friend's work. Five months later, his father came back from his missions trip and listened to me outside the doorway (unknown to me). Afterwards, he said the words that spoke to my heart.....

"Jim, you have honored God by the work you do here. And you've kept the standards, passion, and desires of my son in this ministry, fueling all of it with your own heart.."

I resided there for a year, and intended to as long as the saints of the chapel would allow me, by God's grace, to continue to be their Senior Chaplain. But events have taken me away from there, for now, and I miss the interaction I had with the powerhouses of God's Word.

I would reside over the graduation of one of those saints, a woman that was more dynamic than her fragile body was in the end of her journey here on earth could've ever been. Jean helped found not only the chapel which I was honored to lead, but St. Matthew's Church in Detroit.

I found out later that she was one of the warriors that stood the line and prayed for me to be able to come and be the chaplain of this chapel.

That is a story for another day........

When I gave her eulogy at St. Matthew's on a nice, peaceful September day last year, I didn't speak of her accomplishments, though pages could've been written about them. I didn't speak of her natural ability to put a nervous, timid chaplain at ease in our talks every Sunday prior to the start of service.

I spoke of Christ and how she lived her faith. As the servant who was given just a little in which to perform the Master's wishes, so she took what she was given and moved into the world to impact it for God in a powerful way. I concluded my eulogy of this quiet, powerful person the best way I knew how:

"I look forward to the day when I stand before the Heavenly Host, the saints that have gone before, and Almighty God. When the name of "Jean" is called, I will be one of the many in the surrounding multitude that will be shouting at the top of my lungs as Jesus calls her "Good and faithful servant. You have brought honor and glory to God with what little you were given. Now I will make you master of many cities."

I didn't write a poem that shook the rafters of this old church, nor did I move to tears the attendees with my waxing eloquence.

I spoke God's words to them about a servant most highly favored.

Is that why many of us don't speak about the gospel to those around us? We aren't as gifted as our pastor, as 'on fire' as our elders, or we just don't feel 'smart' enough to carry such an important discussion?

We don't have to speak with eloquent words or wisdom that comes from hours and hours of reading commentaries, text, studies, and books about God's Word. We just have to take what God gives us and speak His truth. The eloquence and flow of our testimony and God's truth will flow greater than any orator, philosopher, or highly esteemed speaker.

There is no other knowledge that we need beyond Christ who was crucified, buried, and rose from the death to triumph in the Heavens. This is the sum and substance of the gospel message, and the core of our life-giving salvation. No pomp, deep reason, or extraordinary scientific facts can affect the divine wisdom that flows from the testimony of God. Such ornamentation of oneself when presenting the gospel to those who believe and those who doesn't lend any weight to the words spoken. The weakest speaker among us can deliver great truth, when God is spoken.

Our faith shouldn't stand upon the words of 'famous' preachers, with multitudes of campuses throughout the country. Nor should we hang on the words of those with famous associations to giants of the past. It shouldn't be affected by the delivery style of the preacher who faithfully executes God's calling each and every Sunday or Wednesday or whatever day he or she is called to speak God's truth.

The gospel is preached, testified to, and delivered throughout the multitude of media outlets not so that our faith can rest upon human motives, rhetoric, or logic because it would be easily overcome by human argument. Rather it is simply that God might appear among us and be glorified in our praise and worship to Him. To speak God's truth to the Nations.

When we graduate from this world, what will be said of your life?

That you were a good person and lived a good life?

Or that you brought honor and glory to your Heavenly Father through your life….speaking of the truth of God.

Will you allow yourself to be simply used.....for the greater glory of our Heavenly Father?

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