By Barry Wood
Because of the ban on public gatherings, River Rock Foursquare like many other churches has resorted to online videos in lieu of normal Sunday services. We shoot the videos earlier in the week, so I actually have time on Sundays to view other church videos and livestreams. I visited four different churches last Sunday over the internet, as I’m sure you have.
As I watched other pastors preach and teach, I began to have some negative feelings about my own abilities to preach, teach and lead a church. I watched pastors who are friends and colleagues, not nationally recognized church leaders. They were all wonderful and I received nourishment from God’s word while watching. Still the nagging thoughts continued. “These pastors all are better than I am,” I said. Soon I found myself struggling as pastors sometimes do on Mondays. We wonder if we really reached, helped, or ministered effectively to the church the day before.
Then God reminded me of something the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2&4: “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.” I had to rest in the fact that although I may not be as polished as others when I speak, that is not God’s measuring stick. It is all about presenting a message of life through Jesus that is empowered by the Holy Spirit.
There are words everywhere. We hear them, we read them on social media, websites, books, magazines, etc. We often see word wars between people via social media and TV interviews that are nothing more than political arguments. These things are only words—empty of any power.
It all comes down to one great truth: words are cheap if there is no power behind them. It doesn’t matter how eloquent we are, how persuasive our arguments are, or how carefully crafted our speeches are. What matters is God inspired, Holy Spirit empowered communication that encourages people, tells them they are loved, and gives them glimpses of the reality of Jesus.
It took a lot of pressure off of me when I realized that I don’t have to measure up to someone else when I speak, and I pray that you sense that freedom too. Words spoken through love are demonstrations of the Spirit’s power. We can be agents of love and the voice of Jesus amid the chaos.
I pray that we, the church, will rise up amid the chaos and speak words that demonstrate the love of God, the grace of Jesus, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. That is powerful and leaves nothing for us to be ashamed of. Forest Gump said, “I may not be a smart man, but I know what love is.” Let’s be like that!