Sunday, May 6, 2007

Thanks Dave

Change for the sake of change is usually not very wise, but there are times in one's life when change is not only inevitable, but necessary. Sometimes the conviction, regarding change, comes upon us in the most unexpected ways.

This morning I was reading Dave Black (, and these words stood out, On this Cinco de Mayo I'm sitting here thinking about my Sunday message and saying to myself, Where in the New Testament is there the "well-crafted homily"? Where is the excellency of speech that is so highly sought-after in preachers today? Does not the beauty of New Testament preaching lie in a completely different direction? Should not our preaching be like that of our Lord and His great apostle? Jesus spoke in the very simplest language with mundane illustrations. Paul eschewed the excellence of human oratory. I want my public speaking to be powerful (in the Spirit) and passionate (in the spirit) but I also want to be understood by the commonest man from the workaday world. May God forgive me for the times I've sought to dress up the simple Word in the gaudy garments of worldly wisdom.

These few words reminded me of two instances of change, in my life and thinking, which were almost explosive. Amongst the many changes in my life these were two of the most important.

I was blessed to be able to go to the USA to attend a conference in a large, very conservative, church. Apart from it being an amazingly educational time, and being enormously blessed amongst my host family, there was nothing to get excited about. There was so much to take in at the conference that I required several weeks to digest and examine much of what was taught and demonstrated. Nothing really changed in me, except there were some doubts in the back of my mind which I couldn't satisfy.

Two years later I had the privilege of going to the same conference, and almost from the first day, my doubts began to gel. Without going into detail, Dave Black's words spell out one of the issues which lay heavily on my heart when I returned home. I may write further about the burdens from those conferences another time. It's enough that I came home convinced that the people whom God had entrusted to me were worth far more than objects on which I could polish my ego!

In the providence of God the second lesson was also at a conference, this time at home. This time it was a family camp for several churches of like mind. A, so-called, "special" speaker was invited, who expounded some great messages, the Holy Spirit was at work, my adult second son was convicted (it was a miracle that we got him to attend), and as a result has a changed life. Praise God!

There were about 120 or so other adult Christians attending, and as I talked with some of them, I realized that an enormous opportunity to hear God speak through His people had been ignored. It is once a year, if that, that many of these people come together. What an opportunity for a group of God's people to exercise the gifting that God chose to mobilize at that time, and some of that which their pastors ought to have been preparing them for.

It's good to hear invited speakers whom we're not used to , but what of the authenticity which can come from people we know, and who sit silently in their seats while the "professionals" do their stuff.

Far too many of us, who are called to lead others, come as the experts, teachers who teach but never learn, with a spiritual myopia which causes us to never see beyond our own assessment of how important we are.

Thanks Brother Dave for reminding me!


Alan Knox said...

Aussie John,

I also appreciated Dave's comments and discuss them briefly on my blog. I'm glad that you added your voice to the discussion as well. I need to learn from godly men like you and Dave Black. I agree that change for the sake of change is usually not good. I also agree with you: sometimes change is necessary.


Grosey's Messages said...

G'day there John,
stumbled on your blog through a conversation with Kat, the Elders wife in Wisconsin.
I am in Newcastle NSW, in a Baptist church.
Can you tell me a little more about yourself. I resonate with much of what you have said here.

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