People text me while I preach. At the beginning of each message, I put up my digits and encourage people to text as I speak. I usually make the following clear, so as to establish protocol:
- As I’m talking, please feel free to text in your comments, questions, “yeah, but…” observations, and anything else. Please don’t send pictures of me, since I know what I look like (some do anyway).
- I’m not going to call anyone out, saying that so and so is having an ontological crisis and we should pray for them, etc…
- I may get to it, I may not. If I don’t respond in real time, I’ll try to get back to you later.
And that’s essentially it. I guess some could see this as a negative. Doesn’t this degrade the authority of the Word/Message/Preacher? Maybe, but not at this point and not from my perspective. Rather, it gives me a helpful insight on what one person is wondering. This one observation can easily represent many others who are thinking the same thing.
Rarely is this overwhelming, though I am sometimes burdened with whether to mention something or not, wondering whether it might help or hinder the current temperature in the room. I usually get somewhere between 0 and 6 texts per message, though one time I got well over 100 while speaking to around 600 people. That was awesome, and my phone was hot to the touch until the late evening.
Much to my surprise early on, this interactive communication method defies all the age/generation/tech-savvy categories that one might impose — at least of the ones I happen to know because they’re in my contacts. Many numbers are unknowns, and I’ll probably leave them like that.
Anyway, I say all that to give context for one text I’d like to share from this past Sunday at pfmchurch. For a while now, we’ve gotten a word — a prophecy/exhortation/reminder — from a person who typically stands at the back of the sanctuary and proclaims it at a certain point in the worship service. The scripture leaves plenty of room for prophecy, provided that it aligns with what has already been revealed through the inspired Word. We’re reminded to test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4) and that there are false prophets among the people (1 Peter 2) that must be immediately silenced. From my perspective, everything has been in alignment with God’s Word. And that’s good, since this is all pretty new territory for me. Do I dare silence the Spirit? Of course not! So far, so good.
A few people who were there last Sunday and heard me read it during 2nd service asked me to post it, so here it is:
“Join with me says the Lord. Many of you have wondered what your purpose is. Some of you have worried and labored over it. Do not worry over it. I am your purpose. Follow me with all of your heart and act out what I tell you. I am for you. I am for the lost, I am for life. Your purpose lies in each of these. You are in an epic war against my enemy and you must join with me. You may not understand the purpose of where I lead you, but join with me anyway and I will show you step by step what your purpose is in each place. Trust me and join me in the battle. Let my Spirit flow through you, let me use your life so I can bring forth life in those around you. You join with me, not by carrying the weight of the battle, but by fellowshipping with me in prayer and living your life in the power of the authority that I have given you by my Spirit. Join with me.”