Only preach hope

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Rev Vincent Lau was our guest speaker today. He was with us this year for the 4th or 5th time already. But this round, he stayed back for quite a considerable length of time to chat with some of us. SH and I had the privilege of his attendance, and also his wife Jaycee.

We spoke about a lot of things, but we soon found ourselves talking about preaching. I had commented that preaching is hard to do, that it is indeed a very pastoral thing. What he said in response I find very interesting but I am still mulling about it though.

He said that he became a Christian at age 19, and began preaching when he was 21. When he started, he was preaching from life experience. But soon, he found himself in a seminary and from then on, he began to preach theology. He found that he “turned dry” in his preaching. There was no life. But after many years of doing it, he concluded on this one thing – that in preaching, the end of the message has to be hope. A preacher can, and in fact should, discipline and exhort, but in the end of it all, there must be hope.

I agree with him on the message of hope. As one worships in a faith community, one also yearns for life and yearns for God. And hope is the Lord’s to give and He will give hope. But I am not sure about not preaching theology.

To me, right theology should drive our lives, right theology should shape our talk and right theology should pace our walk. I would however, have to agree that if theology is all we are, with no compassion, no love, and no hope, we are nothing. After all … If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. (1 Cor 13:1)

Preaching is a message of love and a message of hope. And indeed Rev Vincent does preach hope in our church. We are usually left with a message that encourages us in our walk with our Lord. Yes, as a result of his messages, we do acknowledge our weaknesses and confess our sins, but we are then given a sense of hope in the Lord -- For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17)

I am so grateful to You, O Lord, that You are a God of love, and a God of hope. In our fleeting lives, that is all that we can hang on to. Amen.

pearlie

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9 comment(s)

  1. Tozer says, "...the Spirit flows through truth and must find some measure of truth in the mind before He can illuminate the heart. Theological knowledge is the meduim though which the Spirit flows into the human heart."

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  2. Thanks Doug - yes, Tozer got it right on the dot. And the danger is for the theological knowledge to stay in the head and not flow to the heart - and I get reminded of that so much! But on the other hand, there would be nothing in the heart to talk about if the Spirit does not flow in with the truth.

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  3. I think that hope is what is often lacking in many messages Pearlie. Many sermons seem to be targeted at the head where only knowledge can be imparted. Things like hope, mercy, compassion, wisdom, love, peace and faith are matters of the heart.. the communication of such things come when hearts touch hearts.

    I am preaching to a group of inmates at our local jail on Tuesday.. this post was a great reminder for me to speak from my heart.. not that I won't prepare :)

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  4. Bob,
    Hearts touching hearts -- oh yes, that is so needed in this world, but so rare to find. It is hard also when we reach out to the world in heart but get a slap in return. I so need to learn to be as shrewd as a serpent and yet innocent as a dove. Phuoh! now that is hard :)

    When on Tuesday will you be preaching? I will pray for you and for the inmates hearts to be touched by your heart through the Spirit in the Word of God.

    God bless!

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  5. Thanks Pearlie.. I will be sharing about how Jesus mends broken hearts around 7pm Kansas time.. I imagine it will be early morning Wednesday your time.

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  6. I agree with most of Rev Vincent says..but..

    the rethoric "preaching hope only' sounds suspicious....

    Cos it akin to Singapore, Joseph Prince's infamous slogan.."preaching grace only"

    hope and grace, are two sides of a coin...

    hehe

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  7. 不肖生 Sceptics,
    I have miscommunicated on the title on my post. No, he did not come off as preach "only" hope. He did mention that it is needed to exhort and "scold" too, but my usage (not his) of the word "only" in "Only preach hope" carries a meaning more towards -- "With nevertheless the final result" or "In the final outcome". E.g. He arrived only to find his dog dead.

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  8. LOL (It's unrelated but couldn't help it, hope and a dead dog doesn't seem a nice pair) :P

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  9. Melissa,
    Hahaha ... you wouldn't want to knwo what the original example was -- I copied it from a dictionary I was refering to.

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