I read a book Monday. It was powerful. To me it is worthwhile if I get an illustration or insight or two out of each book I read. Sometimes, though, there is a powerful moment of enlightenment when you are reading a book and you know that you have been instantly changed by a shaft of truth-light falling powerfully on your soul. That happened on Monday.
Often in preaching I have paused to make self-deprecating comments or gestures. Beyond being distracting and an interruption from the main flow of the message, those who love me most have often told me they are something I should remove from my messages. Until Monday I did not understand why that was so profoundly true. Reading this passage showed me why those comments and gestures have no place in the preaching of the Word of God. See if you see it, too:
“We have all seen the preacher who is so self-conscious that the voice of God is lost. Do you like me? Do you think I am interesting? Am I keeping your attention? Did you find that humorous? Am I pushing you too hard? Are you glad you’re here? Will you come back next week? Have I spoken too long? Am I doing a good job? When such issues of insecurity plague the mind of the preacher ad nauseam, God’s voice in the sermon is silenced. Nothing stifles the Vertical thunder like a horizontal preacher full of insecurities because he sees his role larger than it actually is.” (James MacDonald, Vertical Church pg. 220)
The rest of the book is powerful containing many rich insights. I am cautious of movements which have one powerful, dynamic, human leader, but the book Vertical Church is worth your time. Maybe you will find yourself wonderfully on your face before God as I did Monday.
January 11, 2107