Many reported to be surprised during service when they heard message speaking directly to them as if pastor knew their situation. A new comer comes to church and is amazed to hear a word which, he feels, is specifically speaking to him. Sometime, someone who is struggling comes to Living Life bible class and hears a message which speaks straight to his heart.
They are amazed at such experiences, but then sometimes there is misunderstanding. A shepherd wanted to give an advice to his house church family but could not dare to say it. The next Sunday, the very issue was preached from the podium as if shepherds had made a request to the pastor to present certain issues. Some shepherds were even accused by their members for revealing confidential matters to the pastor. Sometimes, members suspect shepherd whether he disclosed their house church sharing in the shepherd’s journal.
I want to say clearly that such suspicion is groundless. There are more than 350 shepherds and their spouses in our church. It is not possible for them to communicate weekly happenings in house churches to me so quickly. In the shepherd’s journal, shepherds are to record his thoughts on his ministry not the details of sharing. Therefore, those specific matters would not be disclosed. Even if a detail was revealed, it would take several weeks for me to talk about it during the service.
However, I can presume a couple of reasons for such ‘coincidence’. One is that I have many years’ experience as a shepherd. I served as a shepherd for 11 years. Since I was a shepherd of a singles house church and single house churches multiply when the number of members is at least 20, my group was almost always rather large. In such gatherings, one can only imagine the great varieties of samples I dealt with! The story is normally what I experienced and learned as a shepherd. Second, I visit house churches every week. What I saw and felt there, I was lead to share during the subsequent service. Since people’s stories are quite similar, some may feel that is his or her story.
One most important thing to remember, however, is that the sermon is the voice of God one way or another. Therefore, if such a ‘coincidence’ happens, you do not need to question whether the pastor knows your story, but rather receive it as the word of God. As I prepare for a sermon, I pray and ask others to pray for me so that I will be a speaker for God. I will speak what God wants to say to a specific person who is in the congregation so that he will hear what he needs to hear even though it was not planned. I guess this prayer is answered.
Another thing is that God answers those who desire to hear Him through the sermon. Our congregation has a high expectation for service. They come to worship seeking God’s message. They also pray for VIPs or other house church members to hear what they need to hear from the sermon. Sometimes, they expect the healing of God through worship. These expectations, I believe, are the reason that we have so many testimonies about healing through prayers as well as hearing messages from God.
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