Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tickle Your Ears?

"I did not come to tickle your ears; no, but I came to touch your hearts." George Whitefield spoke those words. A great though forgotten preacher during the 1700's.

From all accounts George Whitefield was a man who preached with great passion and a flare for the dramatic. He was at his best when he preached extemporaneously -- no notes -- just a heart that was captured by and filled with the Word of God. He rejected the "stained glass" voice and rolling R's. Theatrical? Yes! Pretentious? No! I once stood in a little chapel on Saint Simons Island where he and Wesley both preached. In the plain and dimly lit room my eyes filled with tears. I live with a fear of losing passion for the themes that ruled the heart of God's Son and all who live in intimacy with Him.

I was born on the same day as Whitefield -- December 16. Like him, I have also followed God's call to preach His Word. For me, this adventure has held a lot of unexpected highs and lows. Just this morning, as I pulled up my e-mail, I was elated, broken, and temporarily paralyzed by the mountain tops and valleys of what I read -- a sweet note from my 16 year old daughter and the heartbreak and dilemma of two others caused me to cry. Searching for answers I felt a wave of panic. Thanks to God's great Providence -- I met with ten believers at 7:00 a.m. to pray -- courage revived.

Being an authentic Christ follower is not for the "faint of heart." Anyone who understands the implications of representing Christ to a lost world knows what I mean. For sure, there is a certain toughness that must be woven into the soul. With that said, it is here that Whitefield's quote powerfully speaks, "I did not come to tickle your ears; no, but I came to touch your hearts."

That quote brings me back to the realization of how dependent I am upon the Spirit of God's filling. How? Because I can tickle ears and touch hearts, but with all the wrong words and emotions. My motivation can be to find acceptence by crafting words that give me entrance into people's lives -- rather than the powerful and life changing Word of God!

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