Preaching
=========

 

Dan Mayhew <summit@worldaccessnet.com>
In his introduction, Gordon Forrester wrote:
> We have been to a couple of
> meetings
> but are aware that it is just another form of an
> IC, only meeting in a home. In other words, a
> strong leader that
> inputs his dreams and ideas whilst the rest sit
> and listen.
I have noted an interesting phenomena as I talk to pastors in
transition, that is those "leaders" that have found themselves between
churches or in the place of seriously considering the paradigm within
which they work. They are interested in the HC concept, and often are
even convicted that the shift *must* be made in order to be faithful to
the New Testament, but they almost always ask about a "celebration
gathering" or large group assembly. The translation of this question is,
"will I have a chance to preach?" I don't fault them for this, since,
often, these guys are  gifted teachers, but it points out a difficulty
that many pastors have in trusting the Lord to use them in the
challenging change from one system to another. Personally, I enjoy
public speaking (preaching). It's something that I can do. I like the
process of preparing thoughts and ideas that others can understand, but
I had to let that go and trust the Lord that if that particular skill
was needed He would make a place for it. When I was doing it regularly,
I remember feeling satisfied that I had done something I enjoyed
(sometimes they even enjoyed it, too!:) ) , but having the uncomfortable
feeling that my listeners were largely unaffected in any tangible
way----as though they were hypnotized by the whole operation. On the
other hand, if God makes the place for such sharing, you can bet there
will be results. The humbling thing is that's even been true for
donkeys. I have periodic opportunities to speak publicly, and I still
enjoy them, but these days, it seems that when these chances come the
results also come. That wasn't true before.
As I draw my reflections to a close, I guess I am seeing that pastors or
other "leader types" that the Spirit is moving out of the system usually
have to grapple with that issue. We're tempted to think ill of them
about it, but I think it would be better to encourage them to trust the
Lord with whatever skill he may have invested them and take the risk. In
other words, lay down your gifts and wait upon the Lord's instructions
to take them up again.
--
====
Dan Mayhew
The Summit Fellowships
Portland, Oregon
********
<Steffasong@aol.com>
In a message dated 97-08-03 12:21:24 EDT, summit@worldaccessnet.com (Dan
Mayhew) writes:
<< I don't fault them for this, since,
 often, these guys are  gifted teachers, but it points out a difficulty
 that many pastors have in trusting the Lord to use them in the
 challenging change from one system to another. Personally, I enjoy
 public speaking (preaching). It's something that I can do. I like the
 process of preparing thoughts and ideas that others can understand, but
 I had to let that go and trust the Lord that if that particular skill
 was needed He would make a place for it. >
Wow Dan, now we are really getting to the heart of some important things
here. I am so glad that you pointed this out because I believe it is a
struggle that so many of we "leader types," either face presently, or have
faced in the decision to leave the system.  All I can really say is Amen to
your sharing, especially the following.  You said:
 <As I draw my reflections to a close, I guess I am seeing that pastors or
 other "leader types" that the Spirit is moving out of the system usually
 have to grapple with that issue. We're tempted to think ill of them
 about it, but I think it would be better to encourage them to trust the
 Lord with whatever skill he may have invested them and take the risk. In
 other words, lay down your gifts and wait upon the Lord's instructions
 to take them up again. >>
Praise the Lord!  I wish we could write this on a banner and fly it across
the sky!  I do believe that part of the struggle of laying down the gifts
includes the magnitude of need there is to be done among the saints, as well
as missing something that you really enjoy & something that uses the gift of
God within you.
Personally, I must confess this was part of my own struggle 2 and 3 years
ago.  As we considered pursuing HC, I took stock of the situation and I
remember feeling like part of me was going to die.  I had to make the choice
to do it.  Looking back it seems like a rather insignificant choice in the
scope of the beauty of churchlife, but back then it was a real issue.  Being
a part of this beautiful little HC (and obeying the Lord by coming out of the
IC!) has been worth the risk.  It's true, I don't get to construct a message
anymore or get to flow in some of the things I enjoyed regarding ministry in
years gone by... but that's God's business.  Right now, the establishing of
His Body in our locale is the most important thing.
This is a healthy topic to bring up Dan, I'm glad you did.  I think avoidance
of the subject hinders personal growth.  Some even will choose even to
disobey the tugging and conviction of the Holy Spirit in regard to coming out
of the IC because they can not bear that it may mean laying down their gifts.
 Encouraging them is most necessary.
Praise the Lord for His faithfulness!
In Him,
Steph NJ
********
Ken Matheson <kmat@spacestar.net>
Dan Mayhew wrote:
>
> As I draw my reflections to a close, I guess I am seeing that pastors or
> other "leader types" that the Spirit is moving out of the system usually
> have to grapple with that issue. We're tempted to think ill of them
> about it, but I think it would be better to encourage them to trust the
> Lord with whatever skill he may have invested them and take the risk. In
> other words, lay down your gifts and wait upon the Lord's instructions
> to take them up again.
I can relate to what you are saying Dan!
just had a pastor friend stop in a couple of days ago to inquire what we
were up to.  When he found out we were hcing his main objection was no
one was taking time to prepare a systematic message for the group.  In
fact he mentioned that there was no way the group would survive with out
someone doing this.
We had a little heated debate over it but overall it was good and He did
admit that many messages that are preached really only contain 5 minutes
of real substenance anyway.  He wasn't at all "ready" to move out of
that system so it made it difficult for him to receive what we were
doing without him getting defensive.  It seems it is the hardest to
share this concept of church with pastors who are firmly entrenched as
they could take it as an attack on their ministry.
Steph wrote:
This is a healthy topic to bring up Dan, I'm glad you did.  I think
avoidance
of the subject hinders personal growth.  Some even will choose even to
disobey the tugging and conviction of the Holy Spirit in regard to
coming out
of the IC because they can not bear that it may mean laying down their
gifts.
 Encouraging them is most necessary.
I agree Steph!
--
Kmat@spacestar.com
Eagan, MN
612.891.4062  Fax 612.891.3183
********
Phil Weingart <pweingar@dazel.com>
t 09:11 AM 8/3/97 -0700, Dan Mayhew wrote:
>I have periodic opportunities to speak publicly, and I still
>enjoy them, but these days, it seems that when these chances come the
>results also come. That wasn't true before.
Dan, you don't know how I'm encouraged by these words. I noticed more than
a decade ago that most sermons make no difference at all, or very little.
It upset me, since I considered preaching part of my calling, and still do
(even though I don't do much preaching).
One of the pastors in our IC, who has a passion for home churches (within
the IC model) challenged a group of us to name 5 sermons which had made a
difference in our lives. Few could name more than one. Then he challenged
us to name 5 individuals who had made a difference in our lives, and of
course everyone could. The lesson was clear.
What's interesting is that he continues to think sermons are important.
As Ken Matheson wrote:
>It seems it is the hardest to
>share this concept of church with pastors who are firmly entrenched as
>they could take it as an attack on their ministry.
How could they take it otherwise? They received a calling FROM GOD to the
ministry. They've invested their entire lives into making all things
Biblical. If you are correct in identifying the IC structure as unbiblical,
one possible outcome is not only that they've invested their entire lives
in a sham, but that they did not hear God in the first place, and they have
not been hearing Him all along. You're attacking their entire self-concept.
Of course, that's not what you or I believe. God does call people to
shepherd His people in the IC, because that's where His people are.
However, the pastor to whom you're talking has not thought this through,
and in order to get there, he has to pass through the "what if it was all a
sham?" stage. That's terrifying for anyone; most people face this sort of
thing only once in a lifetime, if at all.
Object lesson: if you approach your pastor with HC theology, do it
gradually, gently. (Chris Kirk has some experience with this, don't you,
Chris?)
********
<jtincopa@amrice.com>
Hi its Jose,
You know the guy who's always starting trouble! ; )
No really, Just want to comment on the preaching topic going on.  I agree
with much of what is being said but would like to add a comment.
When someone is called to preach it is because the Word of God is so much
in him that he MUST preach.  Jesus was this way, As was Paul.  I don't want
to get into all the scriptures because I didn't write to prove my
"theological" point.  However I will say that Paul spent much time
preaching and teaching.  At Antioch 1 year with Barnabus, At Corinth 18
months teaching the Word of God among them, At Ephesus 3 + years with Hall
(School of Tyrannus) etc..  He saw teaching and preaching as an important
part of equipping God's people and discipling the flock.  Now I know that
many people get proud because of preaching etc..  But let us never remember
the IMPORTANCE of Good preaching and teaching in the overall plan of God
for his saints.
Thanks
Jose
********
Tim DeGrado <trd@petsparc.mc.duke.edu>
Jose,
>
> When someone is called to preach it is because the Word of God is so much
> in him that he MUST preach.  Jesus was this way, As was Paul.  I don't want
> to get into all the scriptures because I didn't write to prove my
> "theological" point.  However I will say that Paul spent much time
> preaching and teaching.  At Antioch 1 year with Barnabus, At Corinth 18
> months teaching the Word of God among them, At Ephesus 3 + years with Hall
> (School of Tyrannus) etc..  He saw teaching and preaching as an important
> part of equipping God's people and discipling the flock.  Now I know that
>
I did a biblical study on "preaching" and concluded that this verb
meant "proclaim" and was only used to describe when the gospel was being
proclaimed to unbelievers, not teaching believers.  The venue is
always a public place.  If I remember right.
-Tim
==========================================================================
Timothy R. DeGrado, Ph.D.
Duke PET Facility/Radiology Dept         Tel: (919) 684-7727
Duke University Medical Center           FAX: (919) 684-7130
Box 3949, Durham, NC 27710               E-mail: trd@petsparc.mc.duke.edu
********
Dear HCDL,
One reason threads like these are therapeutic is that it is so easy for us
to confuse preaching with a particular genre of monologue.
Preaching is absolutely crucial to Christianity, but as Tim D. and others
have pointed out, this preaching has little to do with what we commonly
call "preaching" (that certain kind of religious monologue).
*** Preaching and the gospel ***
The core of preaching is tied up with what the gospel is. The gospel is
not a philosophy, one that you could come up with if you sat and thought
about it long enough. Nor is it a science that you could understand if you
observed nature closely enough. The gospel is a story.
You can't think it up or look harder and discover it. The _only_ way to
come to know the gospel is if someone tells you the story. That's
preaching. Christianity grows because, in ten thousand different ways,
people keep telling others the story. We preach when we tell the story in
our lives and works and when we explain to our friends and neighbors
that our lives don't make any sense apart from the story.
This is the sense in which, "faith comes by hearing." Faith cannot come
by thinking about it or by looking harder. It can only come by hearing the
story. There's no other way into Christianity except someone telling you
the story. That's the preaching that we absolutely must have. And it has
little to do with sermonics or three-point bible studies or any of the rest of
the bric-a-brac we often call preaching.
*** And the monologues? ***
Sometimes those monologues tell the story; but more often they don't.
And, as Dan M. pointed out so well at the beginning of this discussion --
in his incomparably delicate and gracious fashion -- concern with the
monologue is many times really veiled concern with one's own gift. His
counsel (and Stephanie's and Phil's and . . .) to lay down the gift and
trust the giver is the right one.
And isn't laying down the gift and trusting the giver the essence of the
story anyway? Maybe foregoing a few monologues and relying on the
one who raised Jesus from the dead would be preaching louder and
truer than any of us are really prepared for.
Regards,
Hal
********
"Gordon Forrester" <gordonf@ilink.nis.za>
Yeah!
I laid that one down too. Now that I'm out of the whole meeting
thing, I don't preach at all. My articles are really only geared to
encouraging the Body of Christ to enjoy their fellowship with Him. No
strong doctrinal issues. Just encouragement.
Regards
Gordon Forrester
gordonf@ilink.nis.za
Cape Town  South Africa
********
Tracey Amino <bcc@netport.com>
Hi all.
I don't think any of us is saying that there isn't a valid
time and place for preaching.  I think, in my opinion, that
preaching has been substituted in many cases for what should
normally be one-on-one discussion.  In my own life, for instance,
I went to the same IC for 4 years.  I heard the pastor preach
every Sunday and Tuesday for those 4 years.  So, in all, I
heard him speak from the pulpit probably 400+ times.  During
this time, an illusion of a relationship is formed in my mind
because I know a lot about his life.  I know where he went to
school.  I know his entire family.  I know cute stories about
his family life.  I know struggles he has gone through, etc.
But, in reality, we are strangers.  He doesn't even know my
son's name.  He doesn't know anything about my family.  It is
one-way communication.  It is a mirage...
I agree that there is a place for preaching.  But, like Eve
so eloquently stated a few weeks ago, I think the pulpit can
become a "hiding place" for people who want to maintain control,
and who don't want intimacy.  Thus, perpetuating the illusion
of a relationship with no substance.
I enjoyed Phil's last post on the subject of preaching, and I
attempted to recall 5 messages out of the thousands I have heard
over the years.  I could only really recall 3 with any amount
of clarity.  Of the three, two were animated sermons utilizing
props.  I guess that's a real reality check, huh?
Maybe we have put the gifts and callings of God into a box of
our own interpretation.  If we are unwilling to accept the IC's
interpretation of what "church" is, why should we be willing
to accept their interpretation of how the gifts and callings of
God are administrated within the church?
Just my opinion....
In Christ,
Tracey Amino
Lancaster, CA
********
<FViola3891@aol.com>
Jose's recent post, I think, sheds light on the fact that there are two sides
to this issue and people generally fall hard to the one or the other.
In meeting with various and sundry NT fellowships here and abroad since the
1980's, I personally don't feel that there is anything against NT order or
spiritual principle to have Bible exposition, teaching, exhortation,
Scriptural instruction, et al. in a church meeting.  In fact, I believe it is
quite Scriptural, just as prophetic utterances are (a la 1 Cor. 14).
The essential thing is that the meeting be open for all to minister in their
gifts, that those who minister the Word are in fact being led by the Spirit,
that those who would bring a word from the Scriptures do not dominate or
monopolize the meeting, and that any teaching or exposition of Scripture that
does occur be open for comment, question, and dialogue.
Regarding the tangible 'effects' of the ministry of the Word, a lot of that
has to do with whether or not the Spirit is in it and if there is a living,
community by which to flesh out and apply what the Lord brings forth.
Over here in Florida, we have a weekly ministry meeting that centers around
worship, the ministry of the Word, and fellowship.  This summer, it has been
drawing from 40-60 people... mostly college aged students that are hungry for
Christ.  We've seen the ministry of the Word produce fabulous results in
their lives and they have been thriving on it.  The Word is taking on flesh
in their lives and it puts us all in awe.
In a word, while the NT knows nothing of a clergy-dominated,
pulpiteer-driven, sermon-centered 'church service', teachers, prophets, and
exhorters do exist in the 'ekklesia' and they should be encouraged to carry
out their Spirit-endowed functions without supplanting the function of other
ministries.
Regards,
Frank V.
********
<jtincopa@amrice.com>
I appreciate Frank's Wisdom and Insight.  I couldn't help but repost it!
Very balanced view indeed!
Frank may God bless you in the work he's called you to do.  Sounds like God
is really moving in your midst.  May his spirit continue to do so in your
life and in those you minister to.  Sounds like God has given you a gift of
teaching,  may it ever increase!
Love in Christ,
Jose
********
<Steffasong@aol.com>
In a message dated 97-08-04 12:15:47 EDT, jtincopa@amrice.com writes:
<<   But let us never remember
 the IMPORTANCE of Good preaching and teaching in the overall plan of God
 for his saints.
 Thanks
 Jose >>
Hi Jose and all,
Praise the Lord for the work of the ministry... you're right, the church of
Jesus Christ needs it! I think the problem resides in the mixing up and
combining of the "church" and the "ministry of teaching and preaching."
These two aspects of the Body of Christ need each other, but the church needs
to function as a church... that is, brothers and sisters each bringing a
psalm, a hymn, a spiritual song.  When the "worker" or "minister" comes to
preach and teach and raise up the church, great-- but then he must leave to
so that the entire church can function in the various gifts of God.
 Non-believers and babes in Christ need the work of the ministry even more
often probably, but if they keep getting preached at and taught every week
they NEVER learn to lean on their Lord.
The one who preaches and teaches comes to lay a strong foundation of Christ
and then returns to  build up and exhort the church, just as Paul did.  The
church should receive that one as from the Lord, and count it a blessing. The
call of God to preach and teach beats heavy within his heart, and that's a
very good thing because the church needs him, but he must not stay.  When he
stays in the local church and begins to function ALL THE TIME as the
preacher/teacher the church ceases to be a church... it becomes a ministry.
 That's where all this talk of "vision," comes in and politics in the church,
and other foul things that God never intended.
I will go even farther and state that when the worker (or apostle) stays and
preaches all the time the believers are taught yes, but they are taught to
death, not to life!  Yes,  Paul did preach and teach brother, but he was
itinerant...he travelled near and far to raise up the church.  He never
stayed as their local "pastor."  The present worldwide Body of our Lord Jesus
Christ suffers, I believe, from a glut of ministry and a want of true
churchlife.
Just my 2 cents.
Blessings,
Steph from NJ
********
Michelle Beers <m_n_mbeers@earthlink.net>
Hi All,
I am really enjoying this most recent discussion on preaching. It has been
a pleasure to hear an open and honest sharing of the difficulties many have
faced in their gifting.
I find myself feeling even more empathy for people in this position. I have
always understood in my mind how it would be a difficult place to be in
but, I have not previously been able to personally relate to them on too
many things. If while converting to HC some people feel that they must lay
down their gift until the Lord leads them to pick it up here and there. I
can relate to that. I guess what I'm also hearing is that although it may
become more sporadic than before, it is more fruitful. I can surely relate
to that, too.
Even though I am not a teacher or pastor, the reason that I can relate so
well here is because many times I have felt the need to put aside my gift
due to the structure of church meetings, among other reasons. My gifting
seems terribly unwelcome many places and it does not usually receive a lot
of attention or glory, either. In fact many times that I have used it, I
have ended up being far more often reviled than revered. It has forced me
to be careful to follow the Lord's leading before openly using it though,
and I think that has been a good lesson for me.
However, the one thing that I am having difficulty relating to is the joy
of using my gift when no one has been helped by it. Joy in God using me to
do something I can really understand. I live to be used of God. It is more
important to me than anything else. The times that the Lord has seen fit to
use me with fruitful results have been the happiest days of my life, but
the times when my gift has been rejected or even worse when no one was
edified, have been the worst days of my life, too.
My heart ends up filled with grief and I am tormented. Part of it is myself
feeling useless or sometimes I even feel personally rejected, but by far
the *most* difficult part is a feeling that someone will not profit by it
and could even end up harmed.
Actually for me, it has become even harder lately to feel the joy of being
used by God at all, since my health has challenged me both physically and
mentally, (I have cognitive difficulties whenever I am exposed to things
that I am sensitive to for a long time.) My ordeal has been sooo hard that
for a time I was even challenged spiritually as well, but found that God
was faithful and continued to breathe on me until there was a flame of
faith again in my heart.
Throughout this whole trial I have often felt the need for help from the
family of believers and rather than receiving what I have needed, I have
found people more than willing to teach or to preach at me instead. I
sincerely wish that I could say that it helped me because I wouldn't have
had to go through as much pain if it had. Please understand that I have
nothing against preaching or teaching, but they are no substitute at times
when a different gift is needed. I'm sad to say that I have several vivid
reminders of how it feels to be on the other end of the preaching and
teaching gift inappropriately.
For example, I have long hair and since Mark didn't really know how to take
care of it for me, it became mostly a large rat's nest pulled back in a
pony tail. He used to take me to church in a wheelchair and I would lay
down on the back pew with my pillow. Here I received plenty of preaching
and plenty of teaching. Nevertheless, I still felt like I was in hell.
I remember an elder came by our house once to get Mark's help with a
computer problem that they were having. He came in and announced that his
wife was in the car but would not come in because she was not wearing her
make up, but we were encouraged to come to church. (sigh) I hadn't been
able to wear make up since I don't know when, probably years. I could've
cared less how she looked. It had to be better than hair that looked like a
rat's nest. How I wish that she had come in and sat with me for awhile. How
I wish that she had looked around and saw the work that needed to be done.
(I am allergic to dust and Mark couldreally only get to vacuuming once
every few months.) How I longed for someone to simply care more about "me"
than about my attendance at their speeches.
I felt like I was at a place which required other gifts but people had not
been encouraged to develop them and I deeply felt the utter lack of certain
members of the body. I must confess that I am also having difficulty with
the idea that these people were enjoying themselves, while I was dying on
the vine.
On another note, since this thread has been helpful in expanding my view so
far, I do have a question that I would like to ask. I am wondering if
perhaps the Lord uses teachers and preachers in different ways at various
times. Do any of you feel that God has still used you for teaching and
preaching but differently than before? Like maybe when there is only an
audience of one?
For me personally, there have been times that I have had people say
something to me privately right when I needed to hear it and I greatly
appreciated it. Other times I have learned by someone's good example and
become inspired by it. Once in awhile, it has even felt like the time when
I was a small child and my Dad saw me struggling with my food, chasing it
around my plate, trying to scoop it up with my fork, without using my
hands. I remember my Father grabbed my fork and said , "Here try this.", as
he stabbed the piece of food and lifted it easily off of the plate. I was
in absolute awe, and at that moment , I thought that my Father was the most
brilliant man in the world. =======:)
After all that I have been through, I have learned that indeed we do need
"all" of the gifts and we do need to use our gifts, but more importantly we
all need to have time left to love each other. What blesses me the most
about this thread is that although some of us have been on opposite sides
of the coin, we all have seemed to have learned similar lessons from it .
In fact, right now, I find myself in awe of how "brilliant" my Father in
heaven really is.
********
<Steffasong@aol.com>
In a message dated 97-08-04 22:14:37 EDT, m_n_mbeers@earthlink.net (Michelle
Beers) writes:
<< Throughout this whole trial I have often felt the need for help from the
family of believers and rather than receiving what I have needed, I have
found people more than willing to teach or to preach at me instead. I
sincerely wish that I could say that it helped me because I wouldn't have had
to go through as much pain if it had. Please understand that I have nothing
against preaching or teaching, but they are no substitute at times when a
different gift is needed. >>
Thankyou dear sister for your open, honest expression of what the Lord has
been doing in your life.  You are so right.  Sometimes the simple gift of
helps is so much greater than anything else.  I grieve when I hear what you
have shared, because I know the need is great and so long to see the Body of
Christ actually be the Body....of CHRIST!  Again I will say, the Body of
Christ suffers from a glut of "ministry" and a want of true bodylife!  Body
life is where those needs get met and those gifts truly flow!
My own conclusions (overall) about "gifts," are that there is truly only ONE
gift.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is THE GIFT to the world, and THE GIFT
to me, and THE ONLY GIFT I want flowing through me.
 I pray to our dear Lord that what I have just shared does not come across
overly simplistic or too elementary.  Also, I am not saying that the outward
expressions (what we call 'our gifts') of THE GIFT don't have any merit or
place, for surely they do.  It's just that I have come to the conclusion that
what we call "gifts" are really only that--- outward expressions of the one
true gift....Jesus Christ our Lord!  They are spokes extending from the hub
of the wheel.  He is the center... the gifts flow out from Him, causing the
wheel to turn and the bicycle to move.
Therefore, one can flow in the teaching gift for a season or a moment or a
meeting and then flow in an evangelistic gift and leave the teaching to
another the very next day.  Praise the Lord that the outflow of the GIFT (ie,
the Lord) are expressions of His life within the church and not static or
positions.
Bless you Michelle... thank you for adding such insight to this thread, and
keep on clinging to the GIFT. :-)
Love, in our Beloved One,
Steph NJ
********
Phil Weingart <pweingar@dazel.com>
At 09:09 AM 8/5/97 -0400, Steffasong@aol.com wrote:
>My own conclusions (overall) about "gifts," are that there is truly only ONE
>gift.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is THE GIFT to the world, and THE GIFT
>to me, and THE ONLY GIFT I want flowing through me.
>
>...  It's just that I have come to the conclusion that
>what we call "gifts" are really only that--- outward expressions of the one
>true gift....Jesus Christ our Lord!  They are spokes extending from the hub
>of the wheel.  He is the center... the gifts flow out from Him, causing the
>wheel to turn and the bicycle to move.
Amen.
Doing research for a little inquisition I endured a couple of years ago, I
discovered that the greek for "grace" (Charis) is the same root as the
greek for "gift" (Charisma, a little charis). It changed my outlook. I
discovered Paul's notion (and Peter's, and the Lord's) that all the various
gifts we're given are simply little extensions of the great gift, our
redemption in Christ. We each manifest a little piece of Christ for the
common good. The passage which expresses this, in my mind, is Paul's
question in Romans 8:
  He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He
not
  also along with Him give us ALL THINGS?
And so, in Christ, we receive all things as extensions of Himself.
I've been learning this year to include even the air we breathe and the
grass we tread in this assessment. We're surrounded by the love and grace
of God. We eat it and drink it; it keeps the cold off our skins and the
rain off our heads. Nothing from which we benefit comes from anywhere but
the overwhelming love of the Father Who created us, and who continues to
love and nurture and care for us. We live in a fog, thinking we're cut off
from God, and meanwhile He's got His hand under every step we take, and
gladly provides each breath for us.
Some day this puny 3-dimensional shell will fall off our world, and we'll
see things as they really are: and we'll discover that we've been in heaven
all along, sitting in the Father's lap. We'll cry because of all the
opportunities for loving fellowship we missed, when we thought we were
alone but were in fact less than a breath away from Him who is our life.
Doggone, now I've preached. Hope that was an exercise of a gift...
Cheers.
********
"David A. Imel" <imel@jpl.nasa.gov>
Hi All,
i too have been enjoying very much this thread, and
Michelle Beers' question has forced me to break
my long lurking-silence to share my experience:
At first i couldn't think of any sermon, let alone five,
that had significantly impacted me.  (Positively or negatively!)
But easily many more individuals who had.  Then i remembered
one fellow, Keith, a visiting student at Fuller here in Pasadena,
with whom i met in a small men's group for awhile until it
disbanded.  We then continued meeting together weekly to
encourage each other.  He was a pastor back in Ireland, and
definitely had the gift of preaching.  When we met at Starbucks,
i would often ask him a question.  Five minutes later, while intently
listening to his reply, it would dawn on me "i'm getting a
little sermon here."  But while with most people i would
have considered this very negative, with him it was incredibly
positive.  He knew me well, and i him, and i needed the
exhortation his "sermons" gave.  i hung on every word as he
preached life to me---not just with his words, but with his
whole spirit.  In fact, God used Keith to bring me back to
a relationship with Him after a very long and dry period
in my life.  i like to think of Keith as a virus who infected
me with the Holy Spirit.
-- david.
david a. imel <imel@jpl.nasa.gov>
JPL 300-319, Pasadena, CA 91109
(818) 354-1539 (office), 393-5184 (FAX)
"This moment contains all moments."
 -- C.S. Lewis *The Great Divorce*
********
James W. Ney <jimney@primenet.com>
 It is
>one-way communication.  It is a mirage...
>
>
>Tracey Amino
>Lancaster, CA
>
Good point.  It is the case of one face in the pulpit to thousands of
faceless people in
the pews. Growth mainly occurs in two way communication.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------
Jim Ney 13375 N. 96th Place
Scottsdale AZ 85260
jimney@primenet.com
Visit my website on being a church dropout at:
http://www.nakedpc.com/dropout
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
--------8
********
Tim DeGrado <trd@petsparc.mc.duke.edu>
On Tue, 5 Aug 1997, David A. Imel wrote:
> encourage each other.  He was a pastor back in Ireland, and
> definitely had the gift of preaching.  When we met at Starbucks,
> i would often ask him a question.  Five minutes later, while intently
> listening to his reply, it would dawn on me "i'm getting a
> little sermon here."  But while with most people i would
> have considered this very negative, with him it was incredibly
> positive.  He knew me well, and i him, and i needed the
> exhortation his "sermons" gave.  i hung on every word as he
> preached life to me---not just with his words, but with his
> whole spirit.  In fact, God used Keith to bring me back to
> a relationship with Him after a very long and dry period
> in my life.  i like to think of Keith as a virus who infected
> me with the Holy Spirit.
As you say, the attitude of the "preacher" makes a big difference.
I still don't like to use the word "preach" to describe communication
between two or more believers.  The NT uses other words like
exhort, encourage, teach, etc.  I think language can be important
in cases like this where there are strong cultural norms coming
from the IC that are (or should be) questioned.  It is not helpful,
in my opinion, to try to reinterpret the meaning of "preach" to make
it somehow fit into how we relate to one another.
I would encourage you to do a biblical study on the role
of preaching in the NT.  It was quite eye-opening for me.
-Tim
==========================================================================
Timothy R. DeGrado, Ph.D.
Duke PET Facility/Radiology Dept         Tel: (919) 684-7727
Duke University Medical Center           FAX: (919) 684-7130
Box 3949, Durham, NC 27710               E-mail: trd@petsparc.mc.duke.edu
********
Steffasong@aol.com
In a message dated 97-08-05 11:01:16 EDT, pweingar@dazel.com (Phil Weingart)
writes:
<<  and we'll
 see things as they really are: and we'll discover that we've been in heaven
 all along, sitting in the Father's lap. >
Just about now I feel like joining the angels around the throne and singing
with one voice..."Hallelujah to the Lamb!"  In fact, .... I think I will!
 :-)
Ditto, Phil.  We are just not of this world.  We are of another realm, our
lives hid away in our Beloved. IMHO as we learn to see through His eyes, we
grow in the grace that is ours through Jesus our Lord!
<We'll cry because of all the
 opportunities for loving fellowship we missed, when we thought we were
 alone but were in fact less than a breath away from Him who is our life.
 Doggone, now I've preached. Hope that was an exercise of a gift...
  >>
Preach it brother!  When the gift fits.... wear it!  :-)
Your sister in the sojourn,
Steffa NJ
(p.s.  remind me to share the "Mystery" song with you on Saturday.  It starts
out, "nearer than a breath, closer than the breeze.....)
********
Brian K. Berger brian_berger@juno.com
On Tue, 05 Aug 1997 13:00:19 -0400 (EDT) Tim DeGrado
<trd@petsparc.mc.duke.edu> writes:
>snip<
  It is not helpful,
>in my opinion, to try to reinterpret the meaning of "preach" to make
>it somehow fit into how we relate to one another.
>
>I would encourage you to do a biblical study on the role
>of preaching in the NT.  It was quite eye-opening for me.
I reply-
I am grateful for this subject being posted. It is another aspect that I
did not consider when we looked at the concept of HC instead of what we
have now. I will add what my Pastor has said for a long time. I would
rather never again to preach if I am able instead to MINISTER to people.
When I took ahold of that then it changed the whole way I looked at my
pulpit ministry. This subject again outlines again we are to serve first
then to be served.
Brian Berger
Manchester, NH
Brian_Berger@juno.com
********
"Joann M. Hnat" jmh@shore.net
Phil Weingart wrote:
> One of the pastors in our IC, who has a passion for home churches (within
> the IC model) challenged a group of us to name 5 sermons which had made a
> difference in our lives. Few could name more than one. Then he challenged
> us to name 5 individuals who had made a difference in our lives, and of
> course everyone could. The lesson was clear.
So, I thought about this.  And I *can* name 5 sermons that have made a
difference in my life.  Frank Jernigan's "feet of clay" sermon.  The
sermon that Dianne Miller and Deb Lobsitz gave about the nature of
intimacy with God and with other human beings.  Hal Miller's sermon on
the spirituality of everyday life.  Kay Eaves' sermon about fire in the
belly, and passion for God.  Julia Banks' sermon likening God's work in
our lives to that of a gardener (which has spawned a whole set of
"parables from the garden" for some of us at SCC).
So, then I thought about what Tracey Amino wrote:
> I agree that there is a place for preaching.  But, like Eve
> so eloquently stated a few weeks ago, I think the pulpit can
> become a "hiding place" for people who want to maintain control,
> and who don't want intimacy.  Thus, perpetuating the illusion
> of a relationship with no substance.
And I realized that, in each of the cases I cited, at the time of the
sermon, I had an ongoing relationship with the people doing the
teaching.  Because I entirely agree with Tracey and Eve -- the pulpit,
like no other place in Christendom, can become a hiding place for people
who don't want or are afraid of real relationships.
Of course, I'm certainly not saying that there is no place whatsoever
for us to hear from brothers and sisters with whom we don't have a
personal relationship, although it seems to me that this should probably
be the exception, rather than the rule, and that we would want to know
something of that person's background and the people to whom he or she
is mutually accountable.  (I remember that at a HC conference years ago,
I met a man who introduced himself to me and, when I asked him about his
home church, said, "Well, I'm a little different from the rest of you.
I'm not really a member of a house church; I'm a house church planter."
He clearly meant this to lend his words greater authority than they
possessed in and of themselves.  It didn't.)
It also seems to me that those who feel they have a gift of preaching
would do well to look at the less-spectacular gifts God has given them,
too, and to seek to use those gifts as thoroughly as they seek to use
their gift of preaching.  One of the reasons I am so willing to hear
from Dianne or Hal or Julia or Deb is because they are not speaking into
my life in a vacuum.  I watch them clear the dishes at fellowship
gatherings -- even during the times when discussions are going on and
they could be airing their opinions!  They welcome guests into their
homes and make dinners for sick people and families with new babies.
They show up when it's time for someone to move.  And, because they are
willing to do these less-glamourous things, they have a certain
credibility with me which they wouldn't have otherwise.
What I just wrote reminds me of something that happened years ago in my
home church.  One of the women was working at some Christian
organization, and she helped to put on some big conference of pastors,
all of whom happened to be male.  I remember that she said that she
found many of them to be quite arrogant, though without meaning to be.
They all talked about their ministries, and how their churches were
growing, and what sorts of sermons they preached.  And they all talked
about how their wives had the "gift of hospitality."  I remember that we
all laughed about this at the time, at the fact that none of these men's
wives apparently had any gifts which would threaten the men in any way.
But then we talked about how we'd all be much more likely to learn from
someone who consistently used her gift of hospitality than from someone
who was terribly eager to preach to us.
And, so, that's all I have to say about that.  Thanks to Dan Mayhew for
starting an excellent thread, and have fun with your son in the
mountains.
  .. Joann Hnat
     Salem, Massachusetts, USA
********
FViola3891@aol.com
<<  His counsel (and Stephanie's and Phil's and . . .) to lay down the gift
and
 trust the giver is the right one. >>
This reminds me of a personal testimony given by Watchman Nee.  As a young,
bright evangelist in China (in his 20's), Nee had a zeal to preach and
expound the Scriptures.  Yet, God struck Him with His light one day and Nee
saw that he was operating in his own natural zeal and natural energy.
After that profound revelation, Nee stopped preaching and teaching for 8
months!  Yet, after that period, the Lord released Nee to work for Him once
again. But the gift he had once possessed, although still there, had changed.
 It was no longer Nee preaching for Christ; it was Christ preaching through
Nee.  Nee had learned the all-too often neglected lesson of taking our gifts
through the process of death and resurrection.  (How easy it is to give the
boot to our Ishamael's, but when God asks us to lay down the promised child
on the alter... the one that came from His own hands....how terribly
difficult it is for us to let it go.)
The tangible fruit of Nee's death/resurrection experience regarding his gift
can be touched in his classic books,*The Normal Christian Life, *Sit, Walk,
Stand*, *What Shall This Man Do?*, *Love Not the World*, and *Changed Into
His Likeness*.
All of these books are transcripts from Nee's teaching ministry in Europe,
*after* he laid down his gift and God gave it back to him in resurrection.
 And because those talks were in fact energized by resurrection life, they
have profoundly changed the lives of thousands of Christians over the years.
Frank V.
********
Steffasong@aol.com
In a message dated 97-08-07 06:57:10 EDT, FViola3891@aol.com writes:
<<
  It was no longer Nee preaching for Christ; it was Christ preaching through
 Nee.  >>
GLORY TO THE LIVING GOD!  Hi Frank, and all, --
This post just rang through my spirit like a song of praise!  The lesson
you're describing below Frank, is IMHO, one of the absolute toughest for
believers, especially the Isaac/Ishmael correlation. It is a breaking that is
indescribable.
<Nee had learned the all-too often neglected lesson of taking our gifts
 through the process of death and resurrection.  (How easy it is to give the
 boot to our Ishamael's, but when God asks us to lay down the promised child
 on the alter... the one that came from His own hands....how terribly
 difficult it is for us to let it go.)  . . . .The tangible fruit of Nee's
death/resurrection experience regarding his gift  can be touched in his
classic books,*The Normal Christian Life, *Sit, Walk, Stand*, *What Shall
This Man Do?*, *Love Not the World*, and *Changed Into His Likeness." >>
As a brand new believer in 1974 and 75 I was blest to be able to read these
books as well as the most memorable one to me which is "The Release of the
Spirit."  I recall reading about the breaking of the outer man and thinking
that was happening as I gave up so many of my "Ishmaels," but later... Oh,
later... years later. . . when God urged me to lay down even the Issacs that
He had painstakingly birthed through my slow-learning being... well, --that
was unbelievable. Then, when the move came out of the ministry forum of the
IC into the HC, it was yet another breaking. This is why I don't believe the
process is over yet, rather it the way we are transformed, and how we grow
from "faith to faith, and glory to glory."
Frank, thank you for sharing this. It strikes a chord within me that is
mostly unspeakable. I so appreciate hearing another speak about it, and value
as well the opportunity to utter a few (hopefully) intelligible syllables in
this regard myself.
In Him we live and move and have our being!
Steph, NJ
********
DLBeaty@aol.com
Hello guys,
If it is okay, I would like to pick up on this thread which I have been
following, but have not had the time to post lately.
Hal made some very eloquent points about preaching:
<<
And, as Dan M. pointed out so well at the beginning of this discussion --
in his incomparably delicate and gracious fashion -- concern with the
monologue is many times really veiled concern with one's own gift. His
counsel (and Stephanie's and Phil's and . . .) to lay down the gift and
trust the giver is the right one.
And isn't laying down the gift and trusting the giver the essence of the
story anyway? Maybe foregoing a few monologues and relying on the
one who raised Jesus from the dead would be preaching louder and
truer than any of us are really prepared for.>>
For nearly 20 years people have been telling me that I was a "preacher" or
they recognized signs in my life that indicated a calling of such. In all
honesty I too have become preoccupied at times with "my ministry." I hope
that I am over that now, but I am probably not a fair judge of my own
condition.
The interesting thing here is, that since I have laid down this concept of
delivering sermons to congregations of people, the fire and the passion for
the Word of the Lord has greatly increased in me!
As Hal and others have stated, the NT meaning of preaching is to make an
announcement, or tell the Gospel story. This happens in many wonderful ways.
Lord use me to tell others your story in all of its beauty -- every day of my
life!
In many circles, however, the idea of preaching comes from another NT
concept. This is not necessarily the telling of the Gospel story to
unbeleivers, but the telling of the Word or counsels of God to the church.
This is actually known in the NT terminology as prophesying, that is speaking
unto edification, exhortation and comfort, by the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit (1 Cor 14:3).  It can be a either a dialog or a monologue.
Acts 13:1  reads: "Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain
prophets and teachers;"
What do you suppose these prophets and teachers were doing there? They were
probably prophesying and teaching!
The point that I hope to make is that EVERY GIFT  in the body of Christ
should be functioning. In the past, the overfunctioning of the preachers and
teachers has often quenched the working of the Spirit of the Lord in the
rest.
This can also happen the other way around. But what does the church need?
When every member functions, the whole body is built up. When any one member
is suppressed, certain needs go unmet.
Now I am not talking about the need in one person to be the center of
attention, or to dominate others. This is about the release of LIFE that is
resident in each member of the body, for the edification of the whole body
--including the gifts of prophesying and teaching!
Whether or not the brothers and sisters with whom we meet have found a
balance, I cannot be sure. But there seems to be evidence of the Life of God
in our midst, and the FREEDOM to express Him, as His Spirit leads! To us that
means a lot of conversational sharing and dialog, but it also means that if
one in our midst has a message from the Lord that is burning in his or her
heart to give -- we will receive that too!
This is where we are today, for what it is worth to you all.
Dan Beaty
********
Tobijah@aol.com
I've struggled for years to differentiate the NT references to prophesying v.
teaching, and to distinguish preaching (euanggelidzo) from proclaiming
(karusso).  (I don't remember very well the conventions regarding
transliterating Greek into English, but maybe you get the idea!)  They're
used in such a way that it seems clear that the writers saw them as distinct
activities (e.g. I read Luke 8 this morning: the Lord is said to have been
proclaiming *and* preaching the kingdom of God) yet I have difficulty
describing them in ways that keep them clearly distinguished.
This probably crosses the line on HC relevance, but if you can shed light in
a private post, I'd be grateful.
Maranatha,
Carolyn SR
Hockinson, Washington, USA