Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Preaching as Charisma

Chapter 12 of "The Holiness Manifesto" is called "Preaching as Charisma", written by James Earl Massey. Massey is a long-time preacher/teacher, and Dean Emeritus from Anderson University School of Theology.

Massey begins with rescuing the word "Charisma" from any of it's more recent secular uses. It is not simply someone's ability to draw a crowd, or enjoin a small group of fans/followers. It has very little to do with our ability to entertain or illustrate well with words. It is a gift from God. He quotes Dietrich Bonhoeffer's statement, "a sermon is only relevant when God is there. He is the One who makes its message concrete."

A seemingly specific message, although still quite important to those of us called/involved in the realm of preaching. But I believe he could (and may have elsewhere) expanded his message to anyone who desires to speak God's word into the lives of others...verbally and in action. What we do and say is nothing on its own merit. Mere "good things" to do and say. We believe, and pray for the Spirit of God to do something beyond the natural....to bring value only possible in the name of Jesus, and the power to heal and transform.

A proper warning to anyone...whether preacher, pastor, leader, or simply someone who speaks the Truth of Jesus Christ to others. Any follower of Jesus Christ will be gifted in the area of Love and Hope-bringing to others...for it is the nature of the Spirit within us. That may attract the attention of the lives around us. We may sometimes be tempted to speak or write on our eloquence alone. Eloquence may even attract followers. But it is only when God's blessing, God's divine claiming occurs on our lives, words, and ministries....that these become so much more. We are warned that when this happens...even without our purposeful action, others may look to us. Humility and a proper concept of self will be great tools in those moments, as we are called to let go of any credit that is due Him.

Masseys' is a message of Divine Duty, and the significance of a message praught from the Spirit of God. The large-ness, and importance of it cannot be promoted enough. But at the same time, the humility required of anyone involved in a ministry which finds its' effectiveness completely in the "other". May God continue to lead us into both...

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