Preacher Shy

Several years ago I was visiting my brother in Eastman, Georgia. The church he attended was going through a rough time. The Baptist Association was helping in getting different preachers to preach for them on Sunday. I asked him about the search for a new preacher. I will never forget his answer. He said, “I don’t know. I just know we’re all ‘Preacher Shy.’”

Did you get that? “PREACHER SHY”….

What in the Sam Hill do you suppose he meant by this comment? I couldn’t stand the curiosity. I began my third degree inquisition as to what he meant. He began to go through the different preachers his church had experienced. He pointed to one disappointment after another. He gave chapter and verse of the times the church was misled.

He and others were now “PREACHER SHY.” And for good reason!
The temptation of a preacher like me is to just write this off as sour grapes. I, like many preachers, am sometimes too quick to chalk this up to a disgruntled church member. Oh yeah, I can give you names of those who fall into this category!

However, I have gotten a different view from the pew these last ELEVEN YEARS.

May I say–being “PREACHER SHY” IS REAL.

Like my brother, I have never been so disappointed in preachers these last few years. I admit preaching is very difficult, even if one is gifted. But I am not talking about the preaching of the preacher. I am talking about little things like returning a phone call. I actually contacted a preacher in my area FIVE different times by phone and THREE times in person and never got a response.

I have been told by a number of preachers they will be getting in touch. I have yet to hear from them. I know of those who changed the building program in mid-stream. I know of two who resigned after twenty-plus years on the spur of the moment, without warning. One of them resigned and started another church in the same area the NEXT SUNDAY. How many families have waited for a hospital visit which never happened? How many home bound have never been visited by any staff member?

Yep, “PREACHER SHY” is a real legitimate experience by TOO MANY.
We could all add to the list of DISAPPOINTMENTS by a preacher, RIGHT?
Should we expect more out of our preachers? Yes, but we should never place them on a pedestal. We should never expect perfection. They are like all of us–made of clay. They make mistakes. They fail, falter, and fumble the ball sometimes.

I DID!!

I believe this is why the Apostle Paul encouraged the Corinthian Church to get its eyes off men. There were those who liked Cephas, while others liked Apollos. Then some liked Paul. He discouraged the worship of personalities. He told them it was the Lord Jesus who died for them, not any one of His servants.

The good news is there is a cure for “PREACHER SHY.” It is doing what Paul told us to do: focus on the Lord Jesus, the One who paid the price for us, not on His messengers.

Can I get a witness?

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

“IF”

“And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed….”(James 5:15)

Many take the position the sick person is sick due to his sin. They see the oil representing the Holy Spirit. The elders are called so he may confess his sin and the prayer of faith raise him up. This gives reason for James encouraging the confession of sin to one another that we may be healed.

Some believe the confession is made to the one sinned against. This is all well and good if indeed the one in question is guilty of sin. Maybe so, maybe not because of one little word,

If.

It is striking to me James is willing to admit something so many well meaning believers today are not; HE DOESN’T KNOW IF SIN IS INVOLVED.

I could give you a number of situations where I knew SIN was the culprit for the sickness. However, the number is small compared to those of which I have no answer.

Is SIN related to SICKNESS, DISEASE, and DEATH? Yes and No.

I give three passages for you to consider, “Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”(Jn.5:14).

We have the word from the Lord Jesus Himself. This cripple man whom He had healed at the Pool of Bethesda was sick due to some SIN in his life.

Then there is John 9:1-3, “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

It can’t be any plainer. The blindness was not the result of SIN.

I give another scripture which includes both sickness and death as a result of SIN,

“Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.” (1Cor.11:27-32)

The action of these folks is classified, “as unworthy and guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord….” Paul has in mind here a crime against the body and the blood of the Lord Jesus which is translated by many as, “sinning”.

The result of this action is weakness, sickness, and a number have fallen asleep (Death).

Do we always know why a person is sick? No, WE DON’T!

It is the reaction of too many in the Church to immediately conclude a brother or sister is sick because of

SIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sometimes you know and sometimes you don’t.

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

Glad to Go to Church

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go into the house of the LORD,’” (Psa. 122:1).

I remember when I went to church for the first time as a real believer. It was on Sunday night, December 16, 1968. I had to borrow a sport coat, a tie, and a Bible. I also had to walk a good distance from my barracks to the First Baptist Church of Koza, Okinawa. It was the same church, I’m sad to say, where I had thrown my empty beer bottles just a few weeks earlier.

Now I was walking into this church A SAVED MAN, EXCITED BEYOND DESCRIPTION.

I knew I was home the very moment I entered and sat down on the back row. I stood to sing to the top of my voice. I shook everybody’s hand. I listened to every word spoken by the preacher.

I WAS GLAD TO GO TO CHURCH!!!!

I had few expectations back then. I was just glad to be there. I was hungry for the Word of God. I wanted to see everyone and speak to everybody. I just loved being in church. I belonged. I was one of them. I was a member of the Body of Christ.

I WAS BROTHER WALT!

But what about now? Unfortunately, it is difficult to recapture those earlier experiences as a brand new believer. The challenge is that the newness has worn off. This of course can’t be prevented. I now have expectations when I go to church. I want the Word of God to be preached well. I expect the preacher to know what he is talking about. I expect him to spend time preparing.

On too many occasions I think I spent more time getting ready to go to church than the preacher spent on his sermon. Yes, this is a judgment call on my part. However, I do know of what I speak. I don’t mean to be negative; I’m just being honest.

I still enjoy singing to the top of my voice. I am more selective than I used to be. I would like to sing “Amazing Grace” again. I fear we are singing some songs which will not last a decade. I believe all of God’s people young and old need to know the classics of our faith. I enjoy contemporary worship, but I love those hymns which have stood the test of time. We need to know them and we need to sing them. They have lasted all these years for a good reason!

I go to church expecting much more than I used to as a new believer. But let me make one thing clear: I still am glad to go to church! I hope you are too!

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt

“Blue Bird”

I like most college students needed a summer job. I had a friend who we loving called, “Rock”. He deserved this name as you will find out as I continue my story. He told me one day he could get me a job at Blue Bird. This company is a world-wide builder of school buses. Rock even provided the ride to the job site about forty miles from my home.

We would leave my house every morning at 4:45AM. No problem Rock was the only driver. The rest of us would sleep putting our lives into the hands of our trusty chauffeur.

Not to worry, we thought.

Gayle Garnett was singing via radio, “We’ll sing in the Sunshine” when the car left the road at a high rate of speed. We were all now airborne and WIDE AWAKE.

In one voice, “Hey Rock what are you doing? I dare not give you the full story at this point. He jerked the wheel and we were back onto the road.

In a serious tone he shouted “I couldn’t run over those chickens.” Now you know why the chicken crossed the road; to get out of the way of ROCK.

We passengers now took turns staying awake to watch for chickens.

I had a thankless job like most of those on an assembly line. I have a soft spot in my heart for those who do this kind of work. I met a fellow on the line who had been doing the same job for 15 years. I knew right then Blue Bird would only see Brother Walt for one summer.

But I learned something SIGIFICANT from the folks of Blue Bird.
The owners of Blue Bird were a Christian family. On each Wednesday lunch time was extended. The company would bring in speakers. Most of these speakers were missionaries.

I was interested to hear their stories. They had some good ones of how God changed the lives of the “Heathen”.

The Gospel was preached. We were given an opportunity to respond. Much to my surprise a number of workers were saved.

Years later I would hear a famous preacher say the Gospel demands a RESPONSE WHEN PREACHED.

I would adopt this position as a preacher. I have never regretted it.

I am in good company, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2Cor. 5:18-20)

So did the Apostle Paul.

Thanks for Reading,
Brother Walt