"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12, NASB). When you preach or teach for the Lord, the power is in God's Word, not in your presentation; in Scripture, not your eloquent speech. Illustrations and statistics may have some value, but they are NOT the catalyst for spiritual life. The Word of God is "living and powerful" (Heb 4:12); words from the shallow well of human thought are not! It can decipher the thoughts and intents of the human heart; your words cannot! Do not underestimate the power of God's Word! By it, the worlds were summoned into existence, and by it everything created is held together in orderly and productive cohesion. Your job is to raise those dead in sin, awaken souls in spiritual stupor, strengthen the weak, encouraged the fatigued, give hope to the weary, and convict the transgressor. You may speak to a valley of dry bones like Ezekiel, or those that murdered Jesus like Peter. You may confront a Bible-reading politician in a desert like Philip, or a runaway slave like Paul. Have a heart to go where God sends you, for preachers cannot truly preach unless they are "sent" (Rom 10:14-17). Cease to imagine that you can accomplish the work of God with the wisdom of men, or arouse the interest of angels with thorny theatrics or psychological expertise! Your business is to please God, not entertain men! Take the Word of God into your heart and mind. Let it saturate and dominate your thoughts. Do not make your priority to become an authority in what men have said about the Word. Target becoming an expert in the Word itself. When you speak, do so as an oracle of God. Let refreshing and living water flow from your mouth--words that bring life, spiritual life. Speak in a manner, and with words, that will result in God being well pleased. Leave your audience contemplating the majesty of Jesus, the magnificence of His accomplishments, and the greatness of salvation. Give the Holy Spirit something to work with! Preach so omnipotence can undergird your message. Let heaven be involved when you speak!

In expectation of glory, Given O. Blakely