I love preachers and enjoy preaching. I know for many people that’s kinda weird. But I like it. It’s my craft and I really enjoy watching and hearing people who are gifted and good at it. 

Generations_16x9That’s one of the reasons I’m at the 2017 Fall meeting of Baptist Bible Fellowship International at Friendship Baptist Church in Owasso, Oklahoma. I get to hear many preachers in the three days.

On Tuesday night I got to hear one of my favorite preachers, Jerry Thorpe. I first heard Jerry Thorpe while in Bible college. He was funny and challenging and I just loved hearing him. When I served as youth pastor in Iowa, we had Jerry come to a four-state youth rally at Worlds of Fun. He was great!

jerry-thorpe-Jerry is no longer a senior pastor but he still preaches nearly every Sunday in a church somewhere. 

Well, he rattled my cage tonight. He talked about a reluctant preacher, Jonah. You can read Jonah’s story in his own Bible book, the book of Jonah. It’s very short.

The abbreviated version is that Jonah was a preacher called by God to tell the wicked people of Nineveh that God was going to judge them. But instead, Jonah went the other way. After being tossed off a boat, God sent a big fish to swallow him and take him back to Nineveh. So he reluctantly preached God’s message and a revival broke out and the entire city turned to God.

jonah-01Jerry shared four thoughts. He applied them to preaching, but see if it also works with other areas of life.

1 – There is a definite call of God to preach.

Ministry is not an occupation, it is a calling. Whatever you do, make sure it is God giving the orders. There is nothing like being doing what God wants you to do.

2 – What kind of mule-headed preacher would accept the call of God on his life and not go where God tells him?

Jonah didn’t want to see the cruel Ninevites turn to God. So I guess he figured if he didn’t go they wouldn’t hear. And that’s the truth. Preachers often try to tell God where they are supposed to go and what they are supposed to do. But God isn’t looking for stars, He is looking for servants. So though it may be difficult, find your Nineveh – the place that God calls you. Don’t try to find the easiest place to serve. Find the place God wants you.

3 – Why did it take Jonah so long to figure out it was a bad idea to run from God?

It’s never good to not do what God wants you to do. Even if it seems like it’s okay. Just because when Jonah ran away he found a boat and had enough money to buy passage, meant God was blessing him. Anytime we run from God’s call we’re running the wrong way. 

4 – Nineveh didn’t have revival because of the eloquence of Jonah but because they heard the Word of God. 

Jonah didn’t work much on his sermon. He didn’t spend time on his introduction or conclusion or illustrations. He just told what God told him to. And God used it to save a city. The primary job of a preacher is simple – tell God’s Word. Even if we are not a pastor by vocation, a Christian has a primary duty… represent God everywhere you go. Let God’s Word shine through you.

Three great themes to keep in preaching: the cross, the resurrection, and the second coming of Christ.

3 words of advice for preachers: obey your call, find your Nineveh, and preach God’s Word.