Towards the end of the book of Job, a young man named Elihu decides to speak. Thus far, he has shown deference to the other older and more mature counselors, but he can contain himself no longer. He states:
Behold, my belly is like wine that has no vent; like new wineskins ready to burst. I must speak, that I may find relief; I must open my lips and answer. I will not show partiality to any man or use flattery toward any person. For I do not know how to flatter, else my Maker would soon take me away. (Job 32:19-22)
Friends, this language describes what has been happening this week, and it tells what is about to transpire tomorrow on the Lord’s Day.
Jim Stephenson is the founding minister of Horizon Church, and has been immersed in the Word of God this entire week. He has been reading, meditating, writing, deleting, adding, applying, memorizing, praying, and repeating. Therefore, today, he finds himself like a fine piece of meat that has become infused with flavor. Jim is like a little boy on Christmas Eve, he cannot wait for the next day to dawn that he might jump out of bed and rush to see what will happen. Like the Clemson football team getting ready to rub Howard’s Rock and run down the hill towards the stadium is this preacher. Yes, Pastor Jim is like a fermented and perfected bottle of choice wine — filled with tension, pressure, and delight — ready to be opened, aerated and served. Oh consider what is about to happen. The Spirit of God and the Word of God are in him. Tommorow, the Spirit will freshly fall upon him as brothers and sisters pray for such. People he loves are going to be seated before him; they are friends with incredible questions, hurts, pains, and needs. Yes, believers will be coming to get fresh bread, and unbelievers will be found in the room. Who knows, tomorrow might be the day when some of them come to know their Creator, Lord, Judge, Savior, Best Friend, and Groom. And tomorrow it all comes to a head. Tomorrow, at the sacred assembly on the Lord’s Day, after numerous days of marinating or fermenting, Jim finally gets to explode, burst, open his lips, and find relief. The spiritual burden he has been carrying all week finally gets to exit his chest. Tomorrow, Jim Stephenson gets to explode, and all who are found in his presence will sup and drink of the good gifts of the Lord.
Fellow ministers, whether your name be Jim, Joe, Harry, Frank, Alton, Josh, Jacob, Andy, Richard, Brian, Mark, Marty, Tim, Carl, David, Robert, Jim, Jonathan, Paul, Peter, Ross, Richard, Brian, Jason, Charlie, Matt, or Bill, are you thankful, diligent, humble, confident, and bold?
- Thankful – You you get paid to be gloriously used by God to minister in such a fashion. How content and grateful you should be.
- Diligent – Surely you have worked as hard as any in your church this week. If not, it is a bit late. Next week, enjoy wearing yourself out in love for God and neighbor.
- Humble – You need to be absolutely convinced that without Christ, you are nothing. Your prayer life will prove your divine dependency and humility. What is it saying?
- Confident – God is sovereign, and he always and only uses sinful vessels to accomplish his righteous intentions. God is the mover of men’s hearts, and he can use whatever you have prepared to transform men, women, children, entire families, churches, and cultural conversations. Great is He who is in you.
- Bold – Go ahead and re-fix your eyes on Jesus and his Word. Think not of self. Consider not popularity. Put the wealthy members behind you. You have nothing to prove and only one person to please, and that one person is your Lord, Savior, Best Friend, and Lover. Confidently state God’s truth and allow the chips to fall wherever they will. You are not there to flatter, politic, or impress. Do not skirt tough issues, and do not lie.
Oh fellow pastors and pulpiteers, I am not scheduled to preach tomorrow morning, and oh how I wish I were. Therefore, it’s up to you to carry the mantle well and be of good service to the Great High Priest and his congregation. So, get up with humble confidence and swing for the fences. Martin Lloyd Jones taught us that preaching is “Theology on Fire.” Therefore, get some good rest today. Eat a good breakfast in the morn You will need it, for tomorrow your burn and burst.
Fellow members, surely you won’t miss your minister’s explosion tomorrow … will you? This week, the Holy Spirit has done his work, and He will show up again. In addition, your preacher has labored diligently on your behalf. The sermon he will deliver is a “Means of Grace”, and you surely need more, fresh grace. Come on friends, your pastor is going to preach, teach, and explode in the morning, and the sights and sounds will be spectacular. Be there. Be there on time. Be there early. Be there with Bible, pen, paper, or tablet in hand. Be there with your family and bring some friends along as well. God has something to say to you. He will not write it in the clouds, pen it on a wall, deliver it by means of angel, deliver tablets of stone, or utilize a vision or dream. No, God has truth to deliver and his normative way of communicating his glorious thoughts is by means of a sinful but sanctified man who has labored hard in the Word all week. Therefore, honor God by showing up tomorrow with eager anticipation to see your father and brother burn. When he bursts, you will be blessed. You don’t want to miss the fireworks!
If you think it might be helpful and encouraging, why not send this to your minister with a special note and let him know how you are praying for him today.