First lets clear up the Copyright Info:
A friend on mine, by the name of Dr John Dempster, lives in Inverness, Scotland. He writes a weekly piece called Christian Viewpoint for a group of local secular newspapers. He also very kindly sends me a copy.
I asked his permission to share some of these and he replied saying that as long as it states First Published in the Highland News Group of Newspapers then I have permission.
Remember these are written for a group of secular newspapers. Pray that they will bless the readers who may have no other Christian input in their lives.
This week his piece is called
HOW COOL IS THAT:
‘How cool is that?’ Lindsay said. Preaching at the Culduthel Christian Centre a couple of Sundays ago, she described receiving a powerful sense late one night that she should pray for someone she knew. As she prayed, she became aware of a strong impression that there were certain specific thinks God wanted her to say to this man.
‘Help me not to be able to find him if I’ve got it wrong and you don’t really want me to say this to him,’ she asked God next morning. But she did meet her friend, and courageously passed on the words she’d been given. When she’d finished, he told her that the night before a family crisis had prompted him to ask questions about whether God might after all be real. And then hours later there was Lindsay with a relevant word she said God had given her for him.
How cool is that?
Lindsay Howie, who works in Inverness with Youth for Christ was speaking about her commitment to sharing the good news that God reaches out in love through Jesus Christ, and about her conviction that all of us as Christians are called to communicate that love in action and in word to those around us.
As Christians we believe God is always present when we meet as a church, yet sometimes he seems to draw particularly close. That morning he spoke through an ordinary young woman and his presence was powerfully felt. I think Christians who want to be useful to God can profitably ask whether there’s anything we can learn from Lindsay, whether anything about her particular approach to sharing the Bible’s teaching made it easy for God to work through her.
Firstly, there was her willingness to say ‘Yes!’ when invited to preach, despite the fact that when she was asked some weeks before she wasn’t feeling at all close to God. In addressing us therefore, she was not self-confident, but God-confident, humbly sharing a message she believed God had entrusted to her.
Then there was her readiness to share her own story. Lindsay described how, just after her father died when she was a teenager, she found herself calling out to God although she had no religious background or church connections. As she prayed that first ‘Are you there, God?’ prayer, she felt an inner peace and wholeness. The very next day she was telling people at school enthusiastically about God despite knowing so little about him. Lindsay’s words that Sunday had power because she shared the evidence of personal encounters with God.
Thirdly, Lindsay willingly used the gifts God has given her. Energy, joy, passion, and humour were much in evidence – Lindsay’s a gifted communicator. But more specifically it seems she has the God-given ability to hear from him specific things to speak into people’s lives. After the service that Sunday she spoke with a friend of mine, telling him things which she could not possibly have known by natural means, so that her words assured him of God’s presence and concern.
Another reason why God was able to take ownership of Lindsay’s words was her honesty about her pain. She described a period of time recently when she lost any sense of God’s presence and struggled to keep believing. Her natural instinct as a Christian youth worker was to keep the pain of God’s absence a secret from those around her, but she discovered that when you’re real about your brokenness, God can work through you to heal others. And it’s often in helping others that you yourself once again catch glimpses of God’s love.
A final reason I believe we found Lindsay’s words refreshingly real was the simple fact that she’s a woman. Most sermons are preached by men, who may have a deep intellectual understanding of Christian faith and life, but don’t always possess the sensitivity and depth of empathy which are instinctive in many women. We often refer to God as ‘he’, but of course God is neither male nor female, and we believe that the divine personality includes the full range of masculine and feminine characteristics. That Sunday, as a woman, Lindsay was able to give voice to the feminine side of God, to God’s gentleness, sensitivity and compassionate love.
Christians believe that just as God spoke through Lindsay, so he can make himself real to others through each of us. We each have a story to tell, a faith to share, God-given gifts to use. We can each ask God for the strength to be courageous and honest and real. And if we feel we don’t yet have a story of personal encounter with God that story can begin today, for God’s love is calling out to us.
How cool is that?
John A. H. Dempster
First Published in the Highland News Group of Newspapers
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