On Saturday night I preached at an inner-city mission. And praise the Lord a prostitute was saved!
After all these years of street-preaching and never being invited to preach anywhere, I have actually been invited to preach monthly at this inner city Mission for the homeless and disadvantaged.
The thing is I don’t know how to do “normal” preaching. I can’t get three points and then a conclusion and stand behind a pulpit.
As part of my Chaplaincy course I’ve just been reading an essay on how to be an “Effective Communicator” as a preacher. Even though this article does make some valid points, I find it rather sad that it is all about how to get your points across, how to make sure the audience remembers what you’ve said, how to be an effective communicator etc etc.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t seem to come into it at all – it’s all fleshly business-speak. In these days of downloadable sermons and effective sound-bytes there is a need for anointed preaching again. For goodness sake let’s get back to the power of the Holy Spirit! So here’s my “how-to” list to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Preaching in the Spirit
- Be in an intimate relationship with Jesus. If you’re not, then please don’t preach. Really.
- Be constantly in the Word. It just needs to be a part of you.
- Check your heart. If there’s anything between you and God deal with it immediately.
- Cry. Yes, weep. This is hugely important. Weeping is the key to the anointing. This is something that cannot be forced, so ask God to break you for the sins of the people you will be preaching to. Preaching should ALWAYS come from a place of brokenness but it usually never does, and that’s why power in preaching is so rare these days.
- Ask Him for His heart, for His burden, for what He wants to say. Even if you only get one scripture from Him it is enough. It is better to preach that one verse for 5 minutes if it’s from His heart than to preach for 30 minutes from your flesh.
- Yield yourself to Him and His will. Ask Him to have His way in you and for you to be a vessel for Him.
- Pray before you go: For Him to fill you with His Spirit; for the people’s hearts to be prepared; for the Spirit to preach through you right into the spiritual realm. You will need to resist the devil – all his methods, his agents, his interruptions, anything he would seek to do to disrupt or interfere with God’s message being delivered.
- Cry again.
- Thank God for the victory we have in Christ Jesus.
- Go in Holy Ghost boldness, knowing it’s not about you, but about Him.
I preached Isaiah 1:18 on Saturday night: “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
The Holy Spirit had impressed upon me that it was all about being honest with God, calling a sin a sin. So that’s what I preached. Afterwards there was a time of ministry and the prostitute came to me and we cried together and she was saved, praise the Lord. The pastor said at the end of the night that there had been a shift in the Spirit tonight, that there was a new honesty and people were being real.
And that’s the point: a shift in the spiritual realm. T Austin Sparks called it “preaching to the back of things.”
Preaching to the flesh is a waste of time. The flesh cannot receive the things of the Spirit. People may feel inspired in the emotional realm for a while, but nothing changes. No, we must preach to the back of things. We preach to the angels, the devils, to the spirit of man, to Christ Himself. And that’s when things happen.
I’m happy to answer any questions about this article!
I stand alone before You
You tell me what to do
And if I should consider Man’s opinion Lord
Then have mercy:
I really need You
For it can be so hard to see You
But they’re always in my face
Oh Lord let me see You more clearly
And not let their opinion have place
Cos it’s JUST YOU AND ME, JESUS
It’s between You and me
And I just want to obey You
And to be free…
Written 1st November 2011
You’ve been heading one way…”But God…”
You’ve received a diagnosis… “But God…”
You have nowhere to live… “But God…”
Your marriage is struggling… “But God…”
You don’t know how you will get through this…”But God….”
These words are like a great signpost in the middle of the path of your life.
They signal God’s intervention in our lives. They signal God’s mercy in caring enough to reach down and move in our circumstances.
“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us” Ephesians 2:4
“But God…” there it stands, two words that are full of promise. These two words can change the course of your future.
But God… that is all it takes to raise the dead to life.
But God… is all that is needed to change your direction
But God… lifts us up from the ash-heap to the heavenly places in Christ
But God… don’t walk past the signpost. Don’t accept that this is how it just is. Don’t give in. Don’t believe the words of man.
Stop. Look up.
There is God’s Word “But God….”
Take hold of a promise of God.
Know that if God can take you, who was dead in trespass and sin, and intervene to make you alive together with Christ, then God can certainly intervene in your situation now.
There is a way, and it’s God’s way. He has an answer, He has an outcome.
Take hold of “But God…”
“Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness” Job 36:16
It is not His desire that we should stay spiritual babes, rather it is His design to bring us forward, to help us grow and enlarge.
At the moment we are extending our little house. As a result, things are busy, messy and chaotic here. Currently we have no phone line, no proper plumbing in the kitchen and big holes in the wall where our back door and kitchen window used to be. It is winter here, I might add…. It is difficult, painful, inconvenient. However, with the greater vision in mind of the complete transformation at the end of all this, I find I can grin and bear the mess and disorder (so far at least).
The process of the enlargement of our home somewhat reflects the process of enlargement in the spiritual life…
Enlargement always comes through straitening.
I love this old-fashioned word. The KJV uses this word and I don’t think any other translation can beat it.
Jesus said: “But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” Luke 12:50
It means to constrict, pinch, restrict, squeeze, distress, compress.
We see that Jesus Christ Himself went through a straitening process in His sufferings and ultimately His death on the cross. He was straitened. He was God wrapped in human flesh yet His eternal divinity was compressed into the limitation of humanity.
“This limitation could be removed only by the baptism of dying on the cross. Then the unlimited divine eternal life within the Lord Jesus could be released.” The Experience of Christ, Witness Lee
So why did the Lord of Life have to be straitened?
He was straitened so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement.
It was through His death that His divine Life was able to be released and imparted to us limited, small human beings. He interceded for us by becoming a human-being like us. He was confined, restricted, distressed and squeezed for us so that we could be brought to the place of enlargement by partaking of His divine life.
“Verily, verily I say unto you, unless a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24
It is only through the impartation of the divine life of Christ that we are enlarged and there is no enduring enlargement apart from Him. But in order for this to happen we are taken through many afflictions, trials and suffering.
As with the renovations all around me : for the new to be brought in, first the old has to be removed. And sometimes that’s painful, noisy and messy.
It is His way of conforming us to the image of His Son.
So if you are feeling pinched, restricted, squeezed and in distress – know that God has a purpose in it. Know that He has not abandoned you, nor is He finished with you. No! Instead He is busy working on and in you to bring you to a place of enlargement. Like clay in the hands of a potter, simply yield to Him, allow Him to do His work and you will be brought through it into a broad and spacious place.
“He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the Lord was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me” Psalm 18:16-19
God bless you!
“Take me”, cried the gold one, “I’m shiny and bright, I’m of great value and I do things just right. My beauty and luster will outshine the rest And for someone like You, Master, gold would be the best!”
The Master passed on with no word at all; He looked at a silver urn, narrow and tall;
“I’ll serve You, dear Master, I’ll pour out Your drink, and I’ll be at Your table whenever You dine, My lines are so graceful, my carvings so true, And my silver will always compliment You.”
Unheeding the Master passed on to the brass, It was wide mouthed and shallow, and polished like glass.
“Here! Here!” cried the vessel, “I know I will do, Place me on Your table for all men to view.”
“Look at me”, called the goblet of crystal so clear, “My transparency shows my contents so dear, Though fragile am I, I will serve You with pride, And I’m sure I’ll be happy in Your house to abide.”
The Master came next to a vessel of wood, Polished and carved, it solidly stood.
“You may use me, dear Master”, the wooden bowl said, “But I’d rather You used me for fruit, not for Bread!”
“Ah! This is the vessel I’ve been hoping to find, I will mend and use it and make it all Mine.” “I need not the vessel with pride of its self; Nor the one who is narrow to sit on the shelf; Nor the one who is big mouthed and shallow and loud; Nor one who displays his contents so proud; Not the one who thinks he can do all things just right; But this plain earthy vessel filled with My power and might.”
Then gently He lifted the vessel of clay. Mended and cleansed it and filled it that day. Spoke to it kindly. “There’s work you must do, Just pour out to others as I pour into you.”
Once upon a time a very young angel was being shown round the splendours and glories of the universe by a senior and experienced angel. To tell the truth, the little angel was beginning to be tired and a little bored. He had been shown whirling galaxies and blazing suns, infinite distances in the deathly cold of inter-stellar space, and to his mind there seemed to be an awful lot of it all.
Finally he was shown the galaxy of which our planetary system is but a small part. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis-ball to the little angel, whose mind was filled with the size and glory of what he had seen.
Senior Angel: “I want you to watch that one particularly,” said the senior angel, pointing with his finger.
Little Angel: “Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me. What’s special about that one?”
Senior Angel: “That is the Visited Planet.”
Little Angel: “Visited?” “You don’t mean visited by ——–?”
Senior Angel: “Indeed I do. That ball, which I have no doubt looks to you small and insignificant and not perhaps overclean, has been visited by our young Prince of Glory.”
And at these words he bowed his head reverently.
Little Angel: “But how? Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince, with all these wonders and splendors of His Creation, and millions more that I’m sure I haven’t seen yet, went down in Person to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?”
Senior Angel: “It isn’t for us, to question His ‘why’s’, except that I must point out to you that He is not impressed by size and numbers, as you seem to be. But that He really went, I know, and all of us in Heaven who know anything know that. As to why He became one of them – how else do you suppose could He visit them?”
The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust.
Little Angel: “Do you mean to tell me, that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?”
Senior Angel: “I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.”
The little angel looked blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.
Senior Angel: “Close your eyes for a moment, and we will go back in what they call Time.”
While the little angel’s eyes were closed and the two of them moved nearer to the spinning ball, it stopped its spinning, spun backwards quite fast for a while, and then slowly resumed its usual rotation.
Senior Angel: “Now look!”
And as the little angel did as he was told, there appeared here and there on the dull surface of the globe little flashes of light, some merely momentary and some persisting for quite a time.
Little Angel: “Well, what am I seeing now?”
Senior Angel: “You are watching this little world as it was some thousands of years ago. Every flash and glow of light that you see is something of the Father’s knowledge and wisdom breaking into the minds and hearts of people who live upon the earth. Not many people, you see, can hear His Voice or understand what He says, even though He is speaking gently and quietly to them all the time.”
Little Angel: “Why are they so blind and deaf and stupid?”
Senior Angel: “It is not for us to judge them. We who live in the Splendor have no idea what it is like to live in the dark. We hear the music and the Voice like the sound of many waters every day of over lives, but to them – well, there is much darkness and much noise and much distraction upon the earth. Only a few who are quiet and humble and wise hear His Voice. But watch, for in a moment you will see something truly wonderful.”
The Earth went on turning and circling round the sun, and then quite suddenly, in the upper half of the globe, there appeared a light, tiny but so bright in its intensity that both the angels hid their eyes.
Little Angel (in a low tone of voice): “I think I can guess, that was the Visit, wasn’t it?”
Senior Angel: “Yes, that was the Visit. The Light Himself went down there and lived among them; but in a moment, and you will be able to tell that even with your eyes closed, the light will go out.”
Little Angel: “But why? Could He not bear their darkness and stupidity? Did He have to return here?”
Senior Angel (voice stern and said): “No, it wasn’t that. They failed to recognize Him for Who He was – or at least only a handful knew Him. For the most part they preferred their darkness to His Light, and in the end they killed Him.”
Little Angel: “The fools, the crazy fools! They don’t deserve —-”
Senior Angel: “Neither you nor I, nor any other angel, knows why they were so foolish and so wicked. Nor can we say what they deserve or don’t deserve. But the fact remains, they killed our Prince of Glory while He was Man amongst them.”
Little Angel: “And that I suppose was the end? I see the whole Earth has gone black and dark. All right, I won’t judge them, but surely that is all they could expect?”
Senior Angel: “Wait, we are still far from the end of the story of the Visited Planet. Watch now, but be ready to cover your eyes again.”
In utter blackness the earth turned round three times, and then there blazed with unbearable radiance a point of light.
Little Angel (shielding his eyes): “What now?”
Senior Angel: “They killed Him all right, but He conquered death. The thing most of them dread and fear all their lives He broke and conquered. He rose again, and a few of them saw Him and from then on became His utterly devoted slaves.”
Little Angel: “Thank God for that.”
Senior Angel: “Amen. Open your eyes now, the dazzling light has gone. The Prince has returned to His Home of Light. But watch the Earth now.”
As they looked, in place of the dazzling light there was a bright glow which throbbed and pulsated. And then as the Earth turned many times little points of light spread out. A few flickered and died; but for the most part the lights burned steadily, and as they continued to watch, in many Parts of the globe there was a glow over many areas.
Senior Angel: “You see what is happening? The bright glow is the company of loyal men and women He left behind, and with His help they spread the glow and now lights begin to shine all over the Earth.”
Little Angel (impatiently): “Yes, yes, but how does it end? Will the little lights join up with each other? Will it all be light, as it is in Heaven?”
Senior Angel (shaking his head): “We simply do not know. It is in the Father’s hands. Sometimes it is agony to watch and sometimes it is joy unspeakable. The end is not yet. But now I am sure you can see why this little ball is so important. He has visited it; He is working out His Plan upon it.”
Little Angel: “Yes, I see, though I don’t understand. I shall never forget that this is the Visited Planet.”