Bloopers from the Pulpit: Fear Factor, Part 3


Many preachers promise the world to their audiences, but are these promises always reliable? One would think that at the very least, the promises given in seminary classes across the world are honoured, but are they?

One day a professor gave his students a harsh assignment: They each had to preach one sermon in the upcoming month, without any notes!

The professor promised his anxious students, that if they ever lost their train of thought (which they all did!), they only had to repeat their last uttered sentence over and over again with more and more dynamism. The promise? They would remember the sermon they had written. Guaranteed!

To poor Johnny, that promise was never realized. Although he was preaching in an ideal situation-a small, older church-as soon as the words "I am coming" were out of his mouth, all of the rest of his sermon fled.

He started to panic. All eyes in the audience were on him and he couldn't remember a word of what he was supposed to say! He stared at them for a minute, sweat dripping from his face. He wanted to scream "Help!", but that wouldn't look too good on his résumé.

With relief he remembered his professor's promise, and with a bit more energy, he again uttered: "I am coming!" When his mind was still blank, he did it again. And again. In desperation he took a firm hold of the old pulpit and screamed out with all of his might: "I am coming!"

He was shaking so much by this time that the ancient wood of the pulpit gave way under his weight, and he fell off the platform, with the top of the pulpit still tightly gripped in his fists, in front of an older lady on the front row.

Embarrassed, he apologized. The old lady reassuringly replied: "That's all right, young man! You warned me!"

I have to wonder if Johnny ever became a preacher!

One of the hardest tasks for a preacher is to preach with a translator. He has no way of knowing that his words have been appropriately translated, so he often doesn't know why certain audiences react one way or another.

I still remember the time an American evangelist visited our seminary in France. Though he didn't speak a word of English, he was quite a dynamic guy! And the translator promised him that no mistakes would be made.

Everything went fine until the translator translated: "When I look into at my past …" into the following: "When I look at my behind …" All might still have been well, except the next words were as follows: "I see that it is divided into two equal parts."

The US preacher never understood why the whole audience began roaring with laughter. Is it any wonder that he never came back?

The promises from this world are more often than not unreliable, shaky at best! Is this possibly why some have a hard time trusting the Lord?

Those who do trust Him however, can vouch that His promises are true and that He indeed cares for each one of us. How could it be otherwise? Jesus willingly left heaven to spend 33 years with us on our planet, and all He received as thanks were fists, criticism, and finally, the cross. All that so that He could offer eternity to those who willingly put their trust in Him!

His promises about fear are clear and simple, and unlike the rest of us, He always keeps His promises.

"Say to those with fearful hearts, "Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you." (Isa 35:4 NIV)

"Do do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." (Isa 41:10 NIV)

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine." (Isa 43:1 NIV)

Why not try getting to know Him? What do we really have to lose?

Rob Chaffart

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