A Call to Teach/Preach about Jesus with our hearts as well as our minds…
Devotional Thought of the Day…
4 Every time your name comes up in my prayers, I say, “Oh, thank you, God!” 5 I keep hearing of the love and faith you have for the Master Jesus, which brims over to other Christians. 6 And I keep praying that this faith we hold in common keeps showing up in the good things we do, and that people recognize Christ in all of it. 7 Friend, you have no idea how good your love makes me feel, doubly so when I see your hospitality to fellow believers. 8 In line with all this I have a favor to ask of you. As Christ’s ambassador and now a prisoner for him, I wouldn’t hesitate to command this if I thought it necessary, 9 but I’d rather make it a personal request. 10 While here in jail, I’ve fathered a child, so to speak. And here he is, hand-carrying this letter—Onesimus! Philemon 1:4-10 (MSG)
230 The wish to teach and to teach from the heart creates in pupils a gratitude which is a suitable soil for the apostolate.
I am blessed to be able to be at a church where I get to teach a lot. My people love studying the Bible, and so a majority of those in church stay for Bible Study, and come on Wednesday Evenings, or every other Thursday morning. I also am blessed to teach some guys who want to serve in the church, to assist their pastors, and I get to work with a guy who is in seminary.
But the more I teach, the more I realize what Christian Teaching is, and isn’t about.
It’s not like teaching history, (even when we are teaching Church History) or like teaching Math or English or even Ancient Greek. While there are things to commit to memory, you want them more to be committed to the heart. There are important details to remember – but more, you want people to know not just about Jesus, but to know Him. To trust Him, to find Him with them, whereever they are, whatever they are going through.
The challenge is that teaching to the heart requires the “instructor” to teach from the heart and mind. Or to use another concept – we isolate right and left brain and educate only one side at a time. Not just from one – but from both. In the “West” or among people where the enlightenment and rationalism have become the process of thought, this is difficult – out educational models are based in such things as the scientific process and linear thought. We even think children are not capable of cognitive thought – that happens later. Those that struggle with this go to the opposite extreme (as I often have) and try to focus on the experiential. Role play and the experience dominate – even as we realize that people can learn more from failure than from success.
Even all this analysis loses the point – we must teach them with all our heart and with all our mind when we teach them about Christ. That means opening up our heart – letting those we mentor/teach/guide see how Christ has ministered to us, we have to let them see the passion of knowing Christ’s love, the excitement and joy of exploring the depth and breadth and height and width of his love. You see this in Paul’s pastoral letters – especially to Philemon, as he wants Philemon to experience the joy of seeing Onesimus as a blessing – and the challenge of restoring him and forgiving all debt.. being the blessing of seeing ministry done by Onesimus – because God has called him to it. Such forgiveness? You can’t teach that in just a sterile classroom.
Nor should a sermon follow the norm of an educational presentation, or a technical, missional briefing. Nor should worship and liturgy be that kind of concept – dry, encoding of those who are completely passive.
It has to go beyond that – if we are teachers and preacher of the gospel want people to know Christ – we have to show them how much it means to us to know Him, to know His love. It requires us to be honest like Paul is in 2 Corinthians,
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. 8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. 10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. 11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies. 12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you. 13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.” 14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. 15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 (NLT)
This revelation, of how much pressure that Paul and crew and going through isn’t complaining, it isn’t whining…but it’s there to help the Corinthians realize God’s power and presence atwork in the life of every believer. It is teaching from the heart and the mind – allowing people to see his utter dependance on God and His love. A bit hard for us guys to do, yet, for their sake, it needs to be done… and perhaps for ours – for we have to realzie our need for Christ. This isn’t about him… it’s about Christ, and the hope and power Jesus brings and generates in us, for He abides in us.
Such teaching is powerful – not because it is emotional, but because it is real. It cannot be programmed into a lesson, or a service, and it goes beyond manipulation.
It simply is our heart – resonating with the heart of Christ… bringing others to resonate with it as well. For they will – far more than they will resonate to logic and dictated presentations….for in our healing in Christ – they find the hope of healing as well…..
Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 1159-1160). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
Posted on September 5, 2013, in Theology in Practice and tagged Abiding in Christ, dunamos, healing, Heart, hope, jesus christ, Love God heart soul mind strength, Mind, preaching, Preaching Christ Crucified, spirituality, St. Josemaria Escriva, teaching, teaching to the heart, theology. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.