As I review and pray over the last sermon in the series for the book of Matthew (which concludes this Sunday after two years of wrestling with it as a community), I can’t help but feel utterly weak and dependent on the Holy Spirit. Every single sermon I was faced with brought my inner-man to its knees… realizing that I have no power of my own to do what I am called to do. Only the gracious presence of God when gifted to us can breath life into the words delivered. I feel emptied, unimpressed with my words, but overwhelmingly victorious in Christ. What a mix, what a contrast, what a contradiction. My soul is awakened by the death of my strength, you alone O’ God… you are my hope and power. I have found great joy in my defeat, in my weakness.
Every page of the Book of Matthew now holds a completely new image for me… it has Ekko’s people’s faces stamped on it. Each page brings to mind certain people, the day someone “got it”, the day someone received Christ, the day someone realized the majesty of our King, the day someone realized the courage of our Savior. I can see their faces, their tears, their effort and their push as they climb the Mountain of God with courage and often with great brokenness.
Often we as preachers think we are leading this climb, but I’ve found myself being fueled and inspired by the people as they allow the Word of God to inspire, transform them… I have found myself trailing behind them, in awe of both God and as well as our people’s openness to the agenda of God.
Only by God’s breath can anything of real power be experienced. Only by His breath can we have the strength to climb up the Mountain of God.
I have found that the breath of God is often carried in the wounded hearts of real people trying their best despite all the obstacles that lie ahead.
“The gospel is preached in the ears of all men; it only comes with power to some. The power that is in the gospel does not lie in the eloquence of the preacher otherwise men would be converters of souls. Nor does it lie in the preacher’s learning; otherwise it could consists of the wisdom of men. We might preach till our tongues rotted, till we should exhaust our lungs and die, but never a soul would be converted unless there were mysterious power going with it – the Holy Ghost changing the will of man. O Sirs! We might as well preach to stone walls as preach to humanity unless the Holy Ghost be with the word, to give it power to convert the soul.” - Charles H. Spurgeon
O’ Holy Spirit come. We invite you to come in power. Help us to finish strong.
And meet us in the Book of Genesis. See you there God.