God at the Centre

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”                                                             Matthew 4:4

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On top of the world and at peace. Physically without food but feeling filled with the Word of the Lord. Completely satisfied yet having a yearning for more and more.

The rush of warmth as the relationship with Him grows. Soaking up every morsel of knowledge and understanding dropped in my direction. Wanting more, not wanting for this to come to an end.

Random thoughts wander into my rejuvenated, excited and inspired mind as I left a workshop on Saturday afternoon. What more can I do to sustain the momentum created by that session? How can that desire be quenched?

I knew I wanted to learn more about bible study. I needed to find a programme crafted for those who were meant to be the authority in the field of scriptural elucidation. The problem is that those types of event tend to be pitched for theologians; participants tend to be pastors and the like who have a higher calling.

The spotlight falls on a workshop hosted by Langham Preaching Trinidad and Tobago:

“Preaching Matters”

 Here was the solution to my problem.

It was a one day workshop with Rev. Dr. Jonathan Lamb, CEO, Keswick Ministries and author of the book, Preaching Matters. It was for ministry leaders but I was fortunate to attend. Thank you Lord!

The workshop was well organized; the entire day ran like a well-oiled machine. There were two snack breaks and a lunch break included in the cost of the workshop. I must add that the book was part of the package.

The day was broken into two morning sessions and two afternoon sessions.

The morning sessions were illuminating. The afternoon sessions were more interactive but were just as stimulating. There was never a dull moment or a time when I felt sleepy or distracted.

The heartbeat for the entire day for me would be:

Let God be the centrality of your activities, your message and your life.

This might sound obvious but it is so very easy to lose sight of such a simple goal. I have acted so many times on my own will without putting God first; remembering him only as an afterthought. Have you ever done so in your message or your actions?

So what are some of the main points I learnt on Saturday?

Any sermon will have three associated factors:

  • The source of the message: God’s word from the Holy Bible
  • The messenger: The preacher or author
  • The receiver: The congregation or readers.

The message ought to be centred on God’s word; it must be filled with references from the bible; and the meaning of the scripture must be explained in detail and truthfully. Such a message will carry authority and will have the power to effect transformation in the lives of those who hear it.

The preacher or messenger has a duty to make the Word accessible, clear and must involve others in his work. For greatest impact, the preacher must be clear, focused and relevant.

The receivers or people need to be spiritually receptive by prayer so that the living word of God permeates their hearts, minds and wills.

Positive transformations in our lives can be brought about by applying several disciplines as we do a devotional study of the Bible. These disciplines include:

  • Having a responsive and open heart, one which actively listens with perseverance.
  • Indulging in reflective thinking
  • Praying honestly and sincerely
  • Living obediently.

A comprehensive method was shared on how to develop a portion of text into a sermon. We had the opportunity to develop group outlines for a sermon based on a selected passage of scripture using that method.

Finally we listened to a sermon developed by Rev.Dr. Lamb. He used the same passage that we had used, for his sermon. This reinforced what we had just learnt.

I have not conveyed the depth of my happiness, my joy at being a participant at that workshop. I was so enlightened. It helped to refocus my thoughts for completing my second book.

I have completed about ninety percent of the content for my second book; however I have been stuck at that position for some weeks. This workshop has brought fresh perspective so who knows I may finish this one yet!

A crucial factor to the appreciation I had for this workshop could be that I was fasting during that time. Fasting is itself a discipline which puts God at the heart of all that is done, all that is said and all that is thought.

Perhaps I now have a greater understanding of the passage quoted at the start:

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”                                                             Matthew 4:4

What gives you the greatest joy? What is at the centre of your actions?

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