Tonight I listened to a sermon at Luz Divina church in Pucallpa, Peru. The speaker was a young man who put on a seemingly good show. He gave scripture and from the outside, for all intents and purposes, a flowing sermon. But as I sat there I felt something uncomfortable.You know that still, small voice deep within you that says – something is not right. Pay attention. Something does not add up. Now when that happens, I listen to that voice and think about why I would have that type of reaction. Self- check. Is it me or is it the Holy Spirit igniting that fire that says – watch out – don’t settle for the words, the show – look deeper.
Cindy and I have been traveling the northern part of Peru with a few people and this young man is part of the group. We got to know him as we traveled to villages and the jungle this past week. His actions and words throughout that time DO NOT mirror the talk he gave tonight. Far from it. His actions definitely do not match his words. And I couldn’t help but be struck by the feeling that this was more of a show. In fact I thought that his words, his gestures were all staged. And that makes me uneasy, irritated, uncomfortable and mad.
What makes a person qualified to preach? To touch the hearts, and emotions of people who are searching for help, healing, restoration and the truth. Is it bible college? Is it life experience? Is it being able to quote scripture? What makes a person a “preacher?” Is it right to quote a verse and not talk about the context? Is it right to give your personal interpretation to people hungry for hope? To lead them down the path of false hope, letting them think they have the power to control life and death? I think not.
So as the small voice inside grew louder and the uneasy feeling within me grew stronger I left. Wondering.
In His Mighty Grip and still listening to the still, small voice,