Preachers Not Motivational Speakers


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What a delight is to listen to God’s voice directly in our secret places! That should be our priority. How beautiful is to hear brothers and sisters share a true message from God! How satisfying is to hear a teacher who clearly reveals the mysteries of the Word, those things that nobody considers and the deep things of Godly wisdom!

         How inspiring is to hear the whole counsel of my God; to be around people who do not just focus on one thing; people who understand that the Bible is so much more than just one doctrine, one testimony and one topic.

         How irritating and disgusting is to see ministers handling God’s Word carelessly and irresponsibly! Ministers without a vision, whom because of the lack of study of God’s Word, bring shame upon themselves and upon the Body. For the Scripture encourages us to “Study to shew thyself (Ourselves) approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)

         Where is the fear of God? Do you think that you can stand in front of God’s people unprepared and not be held responsible for your laziness? For the Bible charges us with the responsibility of equipping God’s people.[1] The Apostle Paul tells Timothy the words that he is telling us today;

         “Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to    doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was   given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to  them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this    you will save both yourself and those who hear you.” First         Timothy 4:13-16

         How irritating is to hear an unprepared preacher; who by what is coming out of his or her mouth are making it obvious that prayer and study was almost nonexistence through the week; perhaps through the months or even years. I count the minutes desiring for an end to the torture of listening to messages without salt and teachings without light; preacher who make the Word of God boring because of their own embrace to ignorance and low standards.

         Give me the Word, give me a message from heaven and must importantly, give me the chapter and verse that is able to back up your outrageous claims. We are preachers, bound by God’s Word; not motivational speakers bound by anything.

[1] “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Ephesians 4:11-16 (KJV)

 

Augustine Conversion According to The Confessions of St. Augustine


Augustine was blessed with a mother who was a prayer warrior. Through all of Augustine’s rebelliousness, resistance to God, placing emphasis on philosophy, joining a false religion and issues with sexual immorality, she prayed him through.

            At last, Augustine seemed interested in spiritual things, however he joined a sect with a form of Godliness known as Monichee. “A key belief in Manichaeism is that there is no omnipotent good power. This claim addresses a theoretical part of the problem of evil by denying the infinite perfection of God…”[1] But Augustine could not deny the emptiness that he was still feeling even after joining this sect.

            On chapter 1 of book VIII Augustine starts by stating, “He, now given to divine things, and yet entangled by the lust of love. Consults Simplicianus in reference to the renewing of the his mind.” Noticed that even as he feels that through this sect he have given himself to divine things, he is still struggling with the renewal of his own mind.

            It was obvious that by now he was convinced of the existence of God; it was obvious that he was not as interested in material things and status as he was before and it was obvious that he was reading the Bible and was fairly familiar with Scripture. Nevertheless, we can see, through this book, his personal struggle to surrender to God.

            Simplicianus was the Father of Ambrose and a key person in planting seeds in Augustine’s hearts. Simplicianus shared the powerful testimony of Victorious with Augustine. This was a powerful and intellectual man, who gave his life to the Lord and later died a Martyr. This testimony impacted Augustine greatly; he wanted to be like this man, nevertheless, he was not willing to give up his lust.

            As I read Augustine’s word, as he describe his struggle and desire for salvation, I can’t help but to be thankful to God for reaching out to me, for we don’t even have the ability to save ourselves. Augustine states,

            “O my God, let me with gratitude remember and confess unto Thee Thy mercies   bestowed upon me. Let my bones be steeped in Thy love, and let them say, who is         like unto Thee, O Lord?”[2]

            I have heard many times how lost people insist in cleaning certain things in their lives before coming to the feet of Jesus, not knowing that 1) Jesus will receive them as they are and, 2) only God has the power to transform their lives. At one point Augustine actually is quoted saying, “Leave me a little while.”[3] Later he states, “Grant me chastity and continency, but not yet.”[4]

            Finally Augustine met the end of his road, the place of desperation. I have never seen anybody come to the feet of Jesus when everything is going good. Here now Augustine’s language is changing, now he is saying, “Lo, let it be done now, let it be done now.”[5]

            As Augustine finds himself weeping in the presence of God, he continues crying out to God by saying, “How long, Lord? Wilt Thou be angry forever?”[6] (Psalm 79:5). As he heard the voice of a child encouraging him to open the book, he did open the Bible on Romans 13:13-14.[7] We don’t know if this was an actual child or an angel or a vision, but he heard this child singing.[8] The power of God unto salvation was finally upon Augustine, but not only him. As he shared his experience with his long-time friend Alypius, he also surrendered to Christ.

            From here until the end of his life, Augustine, who struggled with lust for decades, was now free. Augustine raised a son he had with a concubine during his days as a sinner. He left the concubine and put an end to that relationship; he never mentioned her by name in any of his writings. Augustine never pursued any other relationship.

            We can say that his conversion was radical. True salvation will indeed bring forth fruit; we are still enjoying the fruits of this extraordinary man of God. It is my prayer that we be able to leave a spiritual legacy for our children, grand children and generations to come.

[1] The World Encyclopedia, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Manichaeism

[2] The Confessions of St. Augustine, 116

[3] Ibid. 121

[4] Ibid 124

[5] Ibid. 126

[6] Ibid. 127

[7] Ibid 128

[8] Ibid. 127