[anzac] "CALLING ALL JONAHS!" - J. Lee Grady

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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Thu, 06 Aug 2015 22:01:31 +1200
CALLING ALL JONAHS: Don't Run if You Are Called to Speak!
by J. Lee Grady

I did it again. On a recent Sunday I stood in a pulpit, looked out
over a congregation of mostly strangers, cleared the lump in my
throat and preached a message that the Lord had laid on my
heart from the Bible.

Thousands of men and women speak publicly like this every week.
It´s what preachers do. No big deal. But even though I speak often,
I´ve found that preaching the gospel is one of the most frightening
assignments anyone could attempt. I feel as if I die a thousand
deaths right before I do it, and I die several more times after I go
home and evaluate what happened.

After one discouraging experience in which an audience stared
coldly at me with their arms folded, I determined that preaching
surely must not be my calling. I shared my struggle with an older pastor.

"Sometimes I feel discouraged after I speak," I said. "Does that
ever happen to you?" I was sure he would counsel me to stop preaching.

His answer shocked me. "Son, I feel that way every Monday morning."

When I tell friends that I stubbornly resisted the call of God to
preach because of my lack of confidence, they act surprised.
They think most people who stand in pulpits want to be there.

Think again! We assume God chooses gifted orators who hone
their skills like doctors who learn surgery or actors who learn to
perform on stage. But true preaching is not a natural exercise-
it is one of the most supernatural tasks anyone can ever be
called to do. It requires an imperfect human vessel to yield
himself (or herself) to speak the very words of God.

If we do this in the flesh, the results are miserable; if we wholly
trust the power of the Spirit, prophetic preaching unleashes
supernatural anointing.

Most preachers in the Bible were reluctant. Moses made excuses
about stuttering, Gideon tried to disqualify himself, and Jeremiah
complained about the responsibility of carrying a prophetic burden.
Jonah bought a one-way ticket to the other side of the Mediterranean
Sea so he wouldn´t have to give his unpopular sermon.

And the apostle Paul, who was a silver-tongued Pharisee before
he met Christ, was stripped of his eloquence before he preached
throughout the Roman Empire. He told the Corinthians: "I was
with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my
message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of
wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that
your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power
of God" (1 Cor. 2:3-5, NASB).

Charismatic revivalist Arthur Katz, who died seven years ago,
wrote about the power of true preaching in his 1999 book Apostolic
Foundations: "The only one qualified to preach ... is the one who
wants to run the other way, like Jonah. ... The man who sighs
and groans when called upon to speak, who does not want to be
there, who feels terribly uncomfortable ... is the man out of whose
mouth the word of true preaching is most likely to come."

That is certainly not the way most of us view pulpit ministry in
contemporary America. We celebrate the smooth and the polished.
We measure the impact of a sermon not by whether hearts are
slain by conviction but by how high the people jump when the
preacher tells them what they want to hear.

That kind of carnal preaching may win the accolades of men,
boost TV ratings and even build megachurches. But the kingdom
is not built on smug self-confidence. We need God´s words. The
church will live in spiritual famine until broken, reluctant, weak
and trembling preachers allow His holy fire to come out of their mouths.

If you have a message from God, die to your fears, doubts and
excuses, and drink the cup of suffering that accompanies the
genuine call of God.