Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

A Tale of Two Preachers

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I just experienced the most unsettling phenomenon. I have never done this before, but I quite accidentally listened to two different preachers as they preached the same outline. Both of the sermons have been distributed on CD. Both of the sermons were very Biblical. The content was pretty much the same. The passages cited were almost identical. But they were still vastly different.

I know. You are wondering how they could be different. So was I. When I realized I was listening to the same message I had already heard from another preacher very recently, I thought I probably needed to just skip this CD and move to something fresh. But then I had to keep listening, because this rendition was miles apart—not in meaning, clarity, or theological soundness; but in tone– from the first edition.

One speaker was calm, yet resolved in his intonation, while the other was fast and furious and hyper; almost screeching, at times. One speaker was respectful of those he might be engaging who were from a different background. The other spoke in a “what-are-you-thinking sort of tone of voice. One began by expressing love to those of different religious backgrounds, while the other began by acknowledging the controversy in the topic. Both were very Biblical and clear messages. But the delivery of the first made me want to send it to my non-Christian friends. The delivery of the second made me hope they do not hear it.

Point for Cindy Colley? I want to be very careful as the vessel that’s so blessed to carry the gospel to ladies in many venues. Vessels are nothing but empty containers until they are filled with something (II Cor. 4:5-7). The “something” in me is THE good news. If the “something” in me were just good news about finances, fashion, medical treatments, or ecology, then it would not be so important what kind of vessel I am. But THE good news must not be carried in vessels that distract from the contents. May I never display harshness, ridicule, or condescension when I present the message. May my goal always be to save souls and never merely to win arguments. May my tone be clear and sound, yet always loving (Ephesians 4:15). May I always just get out of the way of the cross and let His grace teach people to live soberly righteously and godly (Titus 2:11,12). A couple of verses prior to this Titus 2 verse, servants are called to fidelity that they may “adorn the doctrine of Christ.” May I adorn the doctrine I teach. May I always teach the truth, but may I present that truth in a way that will make Christian sisters want to bring their non-Christian friends to hear His doctrine. At the end of the day, may people forget about me and remember about Him.

Many times, I have reminded myself that I do not want my children to obey me because I yell. I want them to obey me because I am “mama”. I was reminded of this maxim as I listened to this second CD today. I do not want women I teach to obey the Lord, becoming a part of His church, because I’m “yelling” that message. In fact, they will not. I want them to become a part of His church because they are lost outside of it.

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