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"I'm a Poor Preacher"

“I'm A Poor Preacher”

By Paul R. Blake

            A preacher took his car to the local mechanic who was also a member of the church where the evangelist ministered. The mechanic told the preacher that his car would need a valve job and would cost plenty. To which the preacher replied: “Go easy on me when you write the bill; I'm a poor preacher.” The mechanic quickly responded: “I know; I heard you preach last Sunday.”

            I never cease to be amused by this joke and tell it every opportunity I get. We all have our favorite preacher joke, just like we have favorite political jokes, favorite practical jokes, and favorite knock-knock jokes. Perhaps all of us know a preacher that we would classify as “poor” or “boring” or “just not very interesting.” There are some preachers that I would drive one hundred miles to hear in a meeting, and there are some that I do not go to hear unless I have had a few cups of strong coffee. But upon what criteria do we judge a preacher as excellent or poor? Is an excellent preacher one who, as Ezekiel writes, is “as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice and can play well on an instrument” (33:32)? 

            I know of several preachers who could with very little effort be professional entertainers. In fact, I have been very entertained by their preaching when visiting at their meetings. Yet while I left those meetings entertained, at the same time I wondered if I had been edified. I am not indicting dynamic preaching; I am criticizing showmanship for showmanship's sake. Again, what standard do we use in judging the quality of the sermons that are preached?

            Noah preached 120 years without a single convert beyond his own family. By today's fashionable qualifications for a preacher, Noah would be classified as an abject failure. Elijah's message was even less popular. Israel's royal family put out a contract on his life. The apostle Paul's preaching style was judged by the critics thusly: “his bodily presence is weak and his speech is contemptible” (2Cor. 10:10). No, my friends, we judge a sermon based according to New Testament rules: 1) is it truth? and 2) is it clear and simple?

            Churches are often judged the same way, too. If a congregation is a fun-loving group, if it has lots of activities for children and young people, if they have a dynamic, outgoing preacher, if they have a beautiful, contemporary building, and if they have a large membership, THEN it must be a good church. Based on these criteria, the church at Philippi would have been a failure. They started out with only two families. The church at Corinth would have been a failure; they had several problems. The churches of Macedonia would have been failures; they were poor and probably couldn't afford nice buildings and fulltime preacher. Most of the New Testament churches would be failures if judged by some of today's misguided standards, but when judged with righteous judgment they are faithful and sound, holding forth the banner of truth. The same is true of local churches today. The peripherals have little to do with what makes up a good church. If the church is composed of people who are active in their love for God, actively seek truth, truly love each other, and love to teach the lost, then it is a good church. “Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).

 

Daily Exhortation

By Mike Palm

            "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ forgave you." (Eph. 4:32

            Before coming to power Louis XII of France had been cast into prison and kept in chains. Later, when he did become king, he was urged to seek revenge on his enemies, but he refused. Instead, he prepared a scroll on which he listed all who had perpetrated crimes against him. Behind every man's name he placed a cross in red ink. When the guilty heard about this, they feared for their lives and fled. However, the king explained, "The cross which I drew beside each name was not a sign of punishment, but a pledge of forgiveness extended for the sake of the crucified Savior, who upon His cross forgave His enemies and prayed for them.”

            Let us forgive others even as God has forgiven us.

 

A Moment’s Wisdom

--If we are just going around in circles, it is possible we have been cutting too many corners.

--A gossip can give all of the details without knowing any of the facts.

--Back in Grandpa’s day, they had something that helped them sleep; it was called work.

--We may favor peace, but has anyone ever escaped a tornado by favoring good weather?

--Character is the tree; reputation is its shadow.

--Authority can make some folks grow; it can make others swell.

--Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can read.

--Most of us mistake the limits of our field of vision for the limits of the whole world.

--There is no point in being pessimistic. It wouldn’t work anyway.

--A happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery, even when he has to take a detour.

--If you don’t know what you are talking about, it is hard to know when you have finished.

--To know how truly rich you are, count the things money cannot buy.

--Some people would learn more from their mistakes if they would spend less time denying them.

--We are all brothers under the skin, but some brothers get under our skin more than others.

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