Friday, June 19, 2009
knowing by experience
One of my most cherished study and devotional resources is anything preached by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones. He was preaching through Romans when he was stopped. Here is his account--
“I was at Romans 14:17. I had dealt with 'righteousness', with 'peace' on March 1st, and there I was stopped. I was not allowed to deal with 'joy in the Holy Ghost'. I have the feeling that this was not accidental. God intervened and I could suggest a reason why. I was able to deal with righteousness and peace (I had fleeting experiences of it), but the third thing is the profoundest of all. Why was I not allowed to deal with it? Because I knew something, but not enough about it. 'I want you to speak with greater authority on this,' God said . . .
Here is what I would put before you. For six months, until September, I did not preach at all. For four months I have had the most valuable experience of being a listener. My general impression is that most of our services are terribly depressing! I am amazed people still go to church; most who go are female and over the age of forty. The note missing is 'joy in the Holy Ghost'. There is nothing in these services to make a stranger feel that he is missing something by not being there.”
That reflection comes from a servant of the Lord many consider to be the greatest preacher of the 20th century. His words touch me directly as I consider my daily contact with men at the Regional Justice Center in the chaplain ministry and my own participation at our home church. Does the Lord delight in my worship and activities? What do strangers see in me in my church? I often am concerned about what the children see. They need to see men who genuinely love God and want to serve Him.
I'll be heading to the coast of Washington for the corrections facilities at Clallam Bay and then Forks on June 20th and then to eastern Washington and Oregon facilities for worship services with Jim Dixon, my PFC co-worker.
Oh, that the Lord Himself would deliver me from being a terribly depressing worshiper at Faith Baptist Church where I am a member. Deliver me, Lord! I pray the services Jim and I will be leading over these next two weekends as ambassadors with PFC would be filled with "joy in the Spirit," and those actively participating would rejoice in His presence!