Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NON-OFFICER SPOUSE POLL



IF YOU ARE A NON-OFFICER SPOUSE PLEASE COMPLETE THE SURVEY IN THE RIGHT HAND COLUMN. THANK YOU
(THE BLOG SOFTWARE ALLOWS ONLY ONE VOTE PER PERSON).

Monday, November 28, 2011

Snapshot: The next 10 years in the American church

Sabbatical can do funny things to people, can’t it? I’ve returned from mine and there are many things that I feel the Lord is bringing to the front of my mind (one of which I will begin a blog series on next week). But one of those things is simply wondering, as a Futurist, what the next 10 years of the American church will look like?
We’re seeing many things right now as we survey the landscape of the church:

            The explosion and continued growth of the mega-church, particularly with multi-site churches

             The church seems to be getting smaller and larger. Either decline or stagnation or rapid growth in larger churches with very little in between (interestingly, we’re seeing this happen economically for Americans as well).
            
            Increased polarization of theological pockets within the BIG “C” Church
            
            Increased outworking of social justice
            
            Church budgets in crisis and churches starting to explore alternative revenue streams and economic engines
            
            Missional emphasis that, at least in my view, may already be wearing out as a fad and not as a way of life
            
            I’m noticing an uptick of interest in the discipleship conversation. I wonder where that will go?
            
            Continued assault on the nuclear family without the recognition that the extended family is actually the answer
            
            Huge drop in attendance for Gen X and Gen Y
            
            Rise in charismatic expressions  (i.e. fastest growing segment of the American church right now)

That’s a very quick, snapshot overview of where we are today. There’s a lot of good in that and some things that aren’t so good.
Here’s my question to you: Where do you think the American church will be in 10 years? 
What will be happening? 
What will it look like? 
What worries you? 
Excites you? 
Where do you see it going? 
Where is God already moving and where do you think it’s ?
Mike Breen
Chicago

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Radical Gratitude: Grateful in Tough Times



A few years ago, university psychologists conducted a research project on gratitude and thanksgiving. They divided participants into three groups. People in the first group practiced daily exercises like writing in a gratitude journal. They reported higher levels of alertness, determination, optimism, energy, and less depression and stress than the control group. Unsurprisingly, they were also a lot happier than the participants who were told to keep an account of all the bad things that happened each day.
One of the psychologists concluded that though a practice of gratitude is a key to most religions, its benefits extend to the general population, regardless of faith or no faith. He suggested that anyone can increase his sense of well-being just from counting his blessings.
As my colleague Ellen Vaughn wrote in her book, Radical Gratitude, no one is going to disagree that gratitude is a virtue. But, Ellen says, counting our blessings and conjuring an attitude of to-whom-it-may-concern gratitude, Pollyanna-style is not enough.
What do we do when cancer strikes -- I have two children who have battled it -- or when loved ones die, when we find ourselves in the midst of brokenness and real suffering? That, she says, is where gratitude gets radical.
While they often mingle together in the life of a follower of Christ, there are actually two types of thankfulness. One is secondary, the other primary.
The secondary sort is thankfulness for blessings received. Life, health, home, family, freedom, a tall, cold lemonade on a summer day -- it's a mindset of active appreciation for all good gifts.
The great preacher and American theologian Jonathan Edwards called thanks for such blessings "natural gratitude." It's a good thing, but this gratitude doesn't come naturally -- if at all -- when things go badly. It can't buoy us in difficult times. Nor, by itself, does it truly please God. And, to paraphrase Jesus, even pagans can give thanks when things are going well.
Edwards calls the deeper, primary form of thankfulness "gracious gratitude." It gives thanks not for goods received, but for who God is: for His character -- His goodness, love, power, excellencies -- regardless of favors received. And it's real evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a person's life.
This gracious gratitude for who God is also goes to the heart of who we are in Christ. It is relational, rather than conditional. Though our world may shatter, we are secure in Him. The fount of our joy, the love of the God who made us and saved us, cannot be quenched by any power that exists (Romans 8:28-39). People who are filled with such radical gratitude are unstoppable, irrepressible, overflowing with what C.S. Lewis called "the good infection" -- the supernatural, refreshing love of God that draws others to Him.
And that, more than any words we might utter, is a powerful witness to our neighbors that God's power is real, and His presence very relevant, even in a world full of brokenness as well as blessings.


Chuck Colson
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A FSAOF THANKSGIVING


This is one of my favourite times of the year, the approach to Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. I’m sure many of you with family in the USA are with family during this Thanksgiving holiday.  It is a time of reflection, giving thanks for treasured memories.  I have been privileged to visit my almost 90-year old mother these last few days and will travel over the course of the next week to visit children and grandchildren in different locations in the USA.  But this year I also celebrate and give thanks to another family now celebrating a fourth anniversary; the FSAOF (Former Salvation Army Officers Fellowship). We thank God for what we have had and for what He presents us today and in all our morrows; we are content.
It is four years ago since our Spirit-led family came together, and since that time we have experienced dynamic growth in the number of members and the shared expressions of love, support and healing. Our family exhibits; love, empathy and understanding; the very best characteristics of a family bond. God has been pleased to turn our sorrows, disappointments, anguish, sense of abandonment to a greater good in a way none of us could have forecast. Our crosses have been turned to blessing within and beyond our family to His glory.
All families can trace a common history, traditions and culture, and ours is no different.  Our culture was a way of life committed to serving the same Father and purpose, and we did so through TSA in various fields and territories but yet with a singular shared focus, that of saving souls, growing saints and serving suffering humanity. And, as a family that is the culture that still holds us.

Paul reminds us: ‘Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.’ (2 Corinthians 4:1) …”continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of” (II Timothy 3:14)…”but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”(Isaiah 40:31)

"The greatest gift I can receive from anyone is to be seen by them, to be heard by them, to be understood by them, and to be touched by them." This quote by Virginia Satir expresses the keys to good communications in families.

How wonderful it is to have someone see your side of things and to really understand how you feel. "He Looked Beyond My Faults and Saw My Needs" is a song that contains an important key for improving communications and strengthening relationships and reaffirming values.

Strong families appreciate the uniqueness and contributions of each family member--expressing feelings of appreciation in words and actions brings with it a commitment to see that the goals are met.

When we were united by faith to Christ, we were brought into such complete fellowship with Him that we were made one with Him, and His interests and ours were joined. We have fellowship with each other through Christ because what He loves we love. He loves sinners-so do we. He loves the poor perishing race of man and longs to see their parched lives  transformed into the rich and lush garden of the Lord - so do we.


It is a very sweet thing to be blamed for His sake, to be despised for following the Master, to have the world and even those twhom we once admired and reported to be against us. In our measure we fellowship with our Lord in His labors, ministering to men by the word of truth and by deeds of love. Our broken bread and out poured wine, like His, is to do the will of Him who has sent us and to finish His work. His glory awaits us to complete our fellowship, for His ‘formers’ will sit with Him upon His throne.


Sven Ljungholm
Former
USA, SWEDEN, RUSSIA, UKRAINE, MOLDOVA, GEORGIA, UK
_______________________________________________________







I am thankful for new friends made and old friends found through this fellowship of love, healing, encouragement and respect.

DT USA South

Thankful for a family who loves me unconditionally and friends who are understanding and a fellowship of formers who just "get it".
CB USA Central

Encouraging that others are in the same place emotionally
GW UK

Opportunity to freely share
DT UK


Thank God for this fellowship of love and lots of encouragement.
UJ Caribbean

Thankful for a place to say things I've wanted to say for years but no one but "formers", I thought, would understand.
CH USA, Central

Thankful for such good friends.
AB Canada

A place to express and heal the hurts held over many years, a place to put a marker down and move on
HA UK

Thankful for truly authentic and welcoming Christian family..
PW USA, Southern.

Thank you Lord for all the many things you've done for me & my family.
TBDO USA Central

I give thanks with a grateful heart for this fellowhip of healing and understanding. To God be the Glory.
(USA-W)

I am thankful for Sven's ministry here and for the new friendships and the reconnection with old friends here. LS -( USA-S )

Thankful for acceptance
JMG Canada

He giveth more grace as our burden grow greater.
BH C&B

I thank God for a place to share openly and for the support of others who too have been wounded. We are the wounded healers.
GP Australia

 I'm thankful to have found a place where I could tell my story and know that it is heard and understood.
IG - Australia Sth

I am thankful for friends, and shoulders to lean on, God Bless you all.
TJT(UK) former USA(S)

Thankful for a family who loves me unconditionally and friends who are understanding and a fellowship of formers who just "get it".
CB USA Central

Thankful for a group where we can give & receive encouragement, acceptance, & support.
EH Canada & Bermuda

This group somehow kept me believe in God's love through being my friends and through overwhelming responses and thrilling advises. Thank You!
PR NL

Thankful for a place to share and for the love and support of friends.
MH.UK

Thankful for a fellowship that is inspirational, challenging and sometimes just plain fun! LW USA East

Encouraging to know that others are in the same place emotionally
GW UK

Thankful that I am not alone and that others also share my joys and my pain.
BH South Africa

I'm glad I found this fellowship. It's been a place of support and encouragement for me. Also appreciate the SA mission work being done in Latvia (by our fellowship).
JC UKT

Thankful for this group, I no longer fell like a lone soldier. Thanks for the sharing of the people in this fellowship.
LL, U.S., South

Through this fellowship, ‘He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again’.
WH (USA-West)


More to follow…

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mad Enough To Walk On Water ! Part Two



·      A Picture of Panic

This is a picture of peril and it is a picture of panic!  Momentary panic.  We thought they were scared of the storm, but no, that was nothing compared to the panic that seized hold of them as they saw what looked like a ghost coming towards them.

We are so quick to panic at times, some yes, are more gifted in the art of panicking than others.  Some of us may manage to throw ourselves into a real frenzy over many things that others might consider to be relatively small concerns.  But telling panic-stricken people not to panic or worried people not worry, is not a rule of thumb seen to be overly helpful!  If someone came to me and said ‘ now Sheila, I don’t want you to panic, but’  I would immediately interpret that as ‘ O no, I should get ready to panick!’

Jesus is the great rule breaker.  And as these big strong men are crying out in fear and panic Jesus says; ‘don’t be afraid’, and the reason for them to not be afraid comes as they hear the words amidst the storm, ‘It is I’ - Jesus has not let them down, abandoned them...

When we are doing the will of God we may still encounter storms.  We may wonder why.  But the boat will not capsize; the winds will not sweep you out to sea.  The evil one will not consume us.  Amidst the storms of life hear the words: ‘It is I’. Jesus is with us – keep on rowing!  The quiet waters and the green pastures are within us.  He never lets us down.

Isaiah 43, ‘but now, this is what the Lord says – He who created you, He who formed you, fear not for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you, when you pass through the rivers they will not sweep over you.’,

·      A Picture of Peter

And that brings us back to the picture of Peter, he who had never done it before.  Would probably never do it again, but for one, mad, dizzy, amazing, extreme moment he does some water-walking.  Jesus said, ‘come’ – so he did!  He had wanted to but hadn’t been sure that he should do so; could do so.  But Jesus says, ‘come’, and he jumps overboard.  It’s the bravest thing Peter ever did prior to Pentecost!

He desired to be with Jesus.  He wanted to do what Jesus did.  Despite the raging storm he took the risk.  After all, it was Jesus who had sent them out there in the first place.  He knew in these moments that the One who had placed him out there in the danger zone, would bring them safely back home.  And he came to know that if in the mean time he should begin to sink, Jesus would answer prayer.
‘Lord save me!’  Peter cries – and He did.

His prayer of necessity was brief but sincere.  And although only three words were uttered, his simple plea was effective. 

Peter had for one brief moment allowed the waves to overwhelm, flood his thoughts, but soon he was safe in the hands of the One who created the waves!

·      Conclusion

When we find ourselves in the middle of a storm, while doing God’s will, learn from this story.  The Creator of the waves is greater than the waves!  He will not let us down.  Keep trusting and you will be led by the quiet waters and green pastures…










MAJOR SHEILA LOMAN
Commanding Officer - Pastor
Birkenhead Corps UK

Monday, November 21, 2011

Mad Enough To Walk On Water ! Part One


(Extreme Living)

Is there anything in the world that you would never, ever do and yet would love to do?

For example, when I lived in Surrey my house was on a hill and from my living room window, during the summer months I would often see hot air balloons rising up into the sky and floating across till out of view.  I used to sit there watching, thinking; ‘I would so love to do that’ to go up in one of those balloons and glide across the sky.  I’d love to do it but will never do it!  Why?  Not because of the expense.  Not because of lack of time. But simply because, I am petrified of heights.  Therefore it seems to me that to take time out and spend lots of money on a hot air balloon ride would be utter madness because I would not see a thing.  I would be crouched down on the floor of the basket with my head between my knees, breathing deeply, whilst holding on to someone’s ankles for dear life!

Is there anything you would love to do but will never ever do?

Peter although a strong, fit fisherman, was not, as far as I am aware, something of an extreme sports fanatic.  But we all know that Peter did something that he had never done before and would probably never do again.  For one mad moment, one dizzy, crazy, exciting moment, Peter walked on water – in the middle of a storm, with waves crashing, washing over the side of the boat.  He walked on water!  He did what his head was telling him was the most reckless, crazy thing to do.   Peter was mad enough to walk on water.  And from this picture, this story, we constantly have much to learn.

·      A Picture of Peril
This is a picture of peril at sea.  I love a great storm! When I lived on the Isle of Wight I used to go down to the pier head on a windy day and watch the waves crashing over the rocks.  But I wouldn’t have wanted to be sat on the rocks; I liked wave watching from a comfortable distance.  I love a big thunder storm –  if I’m tucked up in bed with the duvet wrapped round me and I have a big mug of hot chocolate in my hand (preferably with marshmallows on top!!)  I wouldn’t be so pleased to be caught outside in it though.

The disciples didn’t have the choice of being on the shore watching the waves or tucked up in the bed listening to the thunder.  They were right out there in the thick of it all.  They know that they are in real danger…

And do you know why they are in such peril?  Why they are in a boat, out on the lake, in the middle of a violent storm?  Because Jesus placed them there! After a remarkable day of teaching and the most incredible miracles – 5000 people fed with one lad’s packed lunch.

After the most incredible day we read, ‘Jesus made the disciples get into the boat.  These men are doing the will of their master.  They are obeying Christ, taking him at his word and in doing so they now find themselves straining at the oars with the boat being tossed about by every wind that blows.

Yet the psalmist says that, ‘he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.’

That makes more sense – doesn’t it?!  That’s what we have come to expect from God.  So what has gone wrong with this picture in Matthew 14?  Why would Jesus send out his disciples to where no one wants to be?

The truth is that the quiet waters and the green pastures spoken of in Psalm 23, are within us.  Our love for God.  Our trust in God.  Our faith in God brings with it an inner peace that comforts us despite that which might be going on externally.

And the truth is this, yes the men are being obedient to Christ.  Yes, they have gone and done exactly what he has asked them to do.  And now, while being in the centre of Christ’s will they are being tossed about by this sudden, violent storm.

Sometimes doing the will of God isn’t easy for us.  Sometimes we wonder what on earth is going on.  And sometime in the middle of the storm rather than being tucked up in bed with our hot chocolates, sometimes through the struggling at the oars of our boat we learn something valuable and we grow.  We don’t capsize.  We don’t get swept away out to sea.  Because Jesus, who places us where we are (outside comfort zones), is on the shore watching over us.  And then, just when it all seems too much – there He is, beside us.  The quiet waters and the green pastures are within us, despite the storms around us!






Major Sheila Loman
Birkenhead Corps UKT

Friday, November 18, 2011

THE UGLY DUCKLING

In April 1887, The Salvation Army ‘opened fire’ in Denmark, homeland of the master story teller Hans Christian Anderson.  As in many other countries, including the United States, the working class and the underprivileged welcomed Salvationists gladly.  They were grateful for the good news of the Gospel and for the practical help offered to the needy.

But more often than not, the Salvationists with their unusual methods and what some regarded as histrionics, were an offense to the clergy and civic leaders.  When William Booth, the Army’s founder, visited Denmark in 1888, a parish priest wrote an article for the local newspaper accusing the General of having said that God wipes away tears with five-pound notes.  Another critic placed an ad in a Copenhagen newspaper seeking ‘witness and evidence’ that the teachings of Frelsens Haer (Danish for The Salvation Army) were false.

On New Years Day in 1890, a group of Salvationists in Copenhagen were attacked by an unruly mob.  Among the casualties was a Salvation Army soldier who was stabbed and, according to the report, nearly blinded.


In many communities the local burgomasters would provide ‘protection’ from the Salvationists, sending policemen to keep order at the meetings – and then billing the Army an exorbitant hourly rate for their services.

Even the federal government got involved when the head of the Danish Ecclesiastical Department ruled that Captain Else Hansen and Adjutant Bojsen could not be married in Salvation Army uniform.

Happily, over time, Danish religious and civic leaders recognized the value of the Army’s work.  Less than 10 years after the initial invasion, the Crown Prince of Denmark and William Booth, both passengers on a steamship, had a cordial conversation in which the prince expressed sympathy with the Army’s aims.  And in 1903, 84-year-old King Christian met a Danish captain in a museum.  Recognizing the uniform, the monarch said to the Captain, ‘Young man I like The Salvation Army.  I like your social work and your Gospel work; and I like the way you keep God to the front’. 
The country had made a 100% turn.

Years later, Professor Cronfelt of Odense (Hans Christian Andersons hometown) said, "In it’s youth the Army was the ‘Ugly Duckling’, but it has become the beautiful white swan, the beating of whose wings can be heard around the whole world."




ROBERT E. THOMPSON
Commissioner (r)
USA Central
(by permission of the author)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There is no such thing as a historic ‘Palestinian people” living in the Middle East


My May 28th article, “Five Simple Truths about the Mideast Conflict,” elicited some passionate responses from those on both sides of the debate, with the first point in particular proving to be the most controversial: “There is no such thing as a historic ‘Palestinian people” living in the Middle East.’”
Let’s unpack two of the most common responses to that assertion, separating myth from fact. Of course, we know that there are several million people living in the West Bank and Gaza who identify as Palestinians today, and regardless of their historic pedigree, they are human beings with real needs. But when a misleading “history” is presented so as to delegitimize Jewish claims to the Land, the falsehoods must be exposed.
Myth #1. The modern Palestinians can trace their lineage back to the ancient Philistines, who were living in the land of Canaan (= Palestine) long before the Israelites had arrived on the scene.
This is completely false as to any lineal or ethnic connection between modern Palestinians and ancient Philistines.
First, the Philistines were Aegean (or Cypriot) sea peoples who migrated to the southern coast of Israel/Canaan in the 12th century BC. It is unclear what relationship they bear with the Philistines who are mentioned in Genesis, hundreds of years earlier. In short, they were not a Semitic people, as the Israelites and Arabs were. 


Second, from the 8th-5th centuries BC, they were crushed or ruled by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians, ultimately being absorbed by these populations and entirely disappearing from history. In other words, there was a distinct, end of the line for the Philistines roughly 2,500 years ago.
Third, six hundred years after the extinction of the Philistines, and after putting down a Jewish revolt, the Romans changed the name of Judea to Palaestina (in Latin) in order to discourage Jewish patriotism. So, there is absolutely no lineal or ethnic connection between the (earlier) Philistine people and the (later) land called Palestine. In fact, the Philistines had previously lived in the western part of the country, on the Mediterranean coast, whereas Palestine originally referred to the eastern part of the country, on the West Bank of the Jordan river.
Fourth, some Muslim leaders have claimed that there was a continuous Arab presence in Palestine dating back to Muslim conquests in the 7th century AD. But this dubious claim, even if true , would still mean that the continuous Jewish presence in the land predated the first major Arab presence by at least 2,000 years, and it would also underscore the fact that there is no connection between the later Arabs and the earlier (extinct) Philistines.

Myth # 2. The whole argument about there being no historic, “Palestinian people” is meaningless, since there’s is no such thing as a historic Iraqi people either. Borders were artificially created after World War I.”
This is false, as to the overall argument and only partially true about the artificial borders.
Anyone who knows the history of the modern Middle East will recognize the names of nation-states that did not exist as such before (such as United Arab Emirates). But not all national identities in the Middle East are of recent origin.
There has certainly been an ancient, historic Egyptian people in the region, to the south of Israel, and an ancient, historic Syrian-Lebanese people, to the north of Israel, while the Iraqi people often traced their heritage back to the ancient kings of Babylon as well as to the golden age of Islam that flourished in their region 700 years ago. In contrast, the Arabs living in Palestine had no such national identity because they had no such ancient, historic roots, not to mention the fact that there were dozens of other (non-Arab) peoples living in Palestine, some of whom had ruled the region for centuries.
In the oft-quoted words of the celebrated Arab-American historian and Princeton University professor, Philip Hitti, testifying before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, “There is no such thing as ‘Palestine’ in history, absolutely not.” And so, if there was no “Palestine” in the pre-1948 Arab consciousness, there was no Palestinian people. The only people living in Palestine who traced their pedigree back to ancient, biblical times and who awaited the restoration of their ancient homeland were the Jewish people.
But why bother with facts? The old myths and lies are so much more effective.

Michael Brown

Monday, November 14, 2011

21 Skills of Great Preachers

I came across the following list by Keith Roberts a few days ago on the site Preaching Points. Like the author of the post, I am amazed to think back over the great preaching I've heard over my short lifetime (short compared to Methuselah, at least), which I will soon post about on my prayer blog (here). And as I look over Keith's list of twenty-one skills of great preachers, I'd have to say that the great ones in my experience shared these traits as well:


The one thing most of us would rather do than preach, is hear another great preacher. I mean a “Great” preacher. I’ve learned plenty from hearing the best preachers, especially in a live setting. For most of my life, when sitting under a great preacher, I’ve taken dual sets of notes, including content on one list, and a separate set of notes on their communication skills. What have I discovered in these 40 years worth of notes? Here’s my summary:


1. Content:
All of my “Great Preachers” had something to say. Even as “great communicators,” they didn’t substitute style for substance.


2. Passion:
The best Preachers I’ve heard had a passion for what they said which seemed to spring from a general spiritual burden for people, which is different from just loving to preach. Messages are easier to love than people.


3. Credibility:
Great Preachers practice what they preach — they live it.’ “Great Communicators” might get away with all kinds of private sin, but not truly “Great Preachers.” I’ve had to downgrade some of my “Great Preachers to “Great Communicators” over the last few decades.


4. Prepared:
Great Preachers don’t “wing it” — even if the people couldn’t tell. (They can.)


5. Notes:
Most Great Preachers limited their use of notes. Thanks to TV, preachers can no longer read to a crowd with their nose buried in their notes.


6. Simple:
Great Preachers have a way of bringing high truths down to the bottom shelf, yet without compromising the greatness of truth. In this they are like Jesus. People don’t leave a truly great preacher saying, “Boy He’s smart!” They say, “Now I understand!”


7. Short:
While Great Preachers are able to hold your attention in a preaching marathon, most were able to also preach a great sermon in 30 minutes or less. (I don’t know about you, but I’ve discovered that 30 minutes is plenty of time for a preacher to give a sermon, except in the few instances when I myself am the preacher.)


8. Convicting:
People hear God prick their conscience when Great Preachers preach. They give more than a “sermon” or “talk” — they deliver a “message” from God.


9. Self-revealing:
Great Preachers know how to tell personal stories on themselves. They become real to their listeners. Yet they do this while avoiding the ego-centric self-absorption of many pop preachers who make themselves the subject of the sermon instead of God.


10. Confidence:
Great Preachers don’t seem scared. Maybe they are, but they never seem to show it.


11. Tone:
While the great preachers of the past often thundered out salvos like a giant cannons, the Great Preachers of today almost all use a conversational tone of voice. They know that people today don’t listen to speakers who shout.


12. Story-telling:
All Great Preachers through history have this trait in common: they are good story tellers. That goes for both telling story illustrations and direct Bible stories.


13. Prop:
I’ve noticed that some Great Preachers use an object or prop to get their truth across — usually an ordinary thing like a salt shaker, a packet of yeast, or a glass of water.


14. Humor:
Many Great Preachers are funny, though not all of them. The humorous preachers are able to “get them back” after they’ve been on a roll, so that the message can stay central, not the humor. Those who can’t keep the message central are merely “Great Communicators” or “Christian Humorists,” not “Great Preachers.”


15. Pace:
Evan fast-paced Great Preachers use pauses where you can catch your breath. The listener then can digest their last few bites of truth without bolting the whole meal down undigested. Many Great Preachers follow the traditional Afro-American pace in the poem: “Begin low; Continue slow; Rise up higher; Catch on fire; Sit down in the storm.”


16. Eyes:
Great Preachers keep their eyes glued to their audience. Each person in the congregation feels the preacher is “looking right me.”


17. Fast-on-feet:
Most Great Preachers are able to work in the surprises in a service like thunder, scratching on the roof, sirens etc.


18. Intensity:
The Great Preachers I’ve heard varied their intensity — sometimes they were louder, then they’d get as soft as a whisper, sometimes they’d be so intense that my own stomach would ache, then they’d drop back and adopt a tender or even chuckling style.


19. Movement:
Most Great Preachers I’ve heard used their bodies to preach along with their words. They seemed to intuitively know that a congregation is getting a full 55% of the communication from their facial gestures and body movement.


20. Decision:
My Great Preachers never gave a message and walked away. They called for my specific and personal decision in response to God’s truth. They preached for decision, not for entertainment or education. Perhaps I call them “Great” partially because God changed me under their influence.


21. Landing:
All the really Great Preachers I’ve heard were able to land their message on the first pass. Most lesser preachers circle the airport several times before bringing it in, or (worse still) do several “touch-and-Go’s” before landing. You know, it’s a funny thing… I can always see when the other guy should land his sermon, better than knowing when to bring my own message down on the runway.



Hoss
Former
USA East and NHQ