Rodney Dangerfield (remember him?) received a report from his psychiatrist. “You’re crazy,” the psychiatrist said. Dangerfield protested, “If you don’t mind, I want a second opinion.” The psychiatrist said, “Alright. You’re ugly too.”
As a preacher I am supposed to be in the business of speaking the truth. But I am convinced that many do not want to hear the truth. They want a lot of things- entertainment, affirmation, a good Bible story, and maybe the truth- but only so long as it doesn’t challenge and doesn’t hurt. And as a minister I am not to take pulpit advantage of those in the congregation. I know things, and if I have a mind to do it, I can get too personal and direct with the individuals in the audience. Such is not fair. Some things need to be said in private. And it takes courage to talk to someone eye-to-eye about an unpleasant matter, so maybe that is why some preachers choose to go the indirect route? Not me, ever since a crodgity old deacon chided me about such preaching as a teenager. I thank God for him! Also, the Bible instructs us to “speak the truth in love”, Eph. 4:15. You cannot go about preaching the Word, even if what you are saying is technically true, just to blast the congregation and make yourself feel better. The preacher must have love in his heart and in his intentions. And that is why he must not only be “studied up”, but also “prayed up” when he enters the pulpit.
I am going to preach the truth, whether you like it or not. I have an accountability to God for this exact matter according to James 3:1, And I fear God more than any of you! But, unlike Rodney Dangerfield’s psychiatrist, I will not tell you that you are crazy. However, should you ignore your prayer life, seldom read your Bible, see church involvement as an option instead of priority, will not listen to sound advice- then you may think I am looking at you like you are crazy and you may be right. And I will never tell you that you are ugly. But sin is ugly. And wasting your precious, short window of opportunity in this life to live for Jesus? Well, that is crazy and ugly!
Praying For Revival, a how-to prayer conference lead by our good friend, Mark Mirza. This will be Sunday, September 15, with two sessions: 9:45 and 11 a.m. Need I say it? You would be crazy not to attend.