The Compelling Word


I’ve noticed quite a few men lately who are eager to gain an audience without having a real message. They are bloggers or writers or casters who have imbibed plenty of marketing advice on how to increase the size of their audience, but they haven’t invested deeply enough in their content. They are like messengers, so eager to deliver their parcel that they scribble something on a scroll and race to the destination, expecting their words to be received with gratitude. But their scrolls contain no words from the Master.

They have no compelling word.

Compelling words are born in darkness. They are born in prayer and in tears and on one’s knees. Compelling words rarely spring from comfort. Messages that bring light and life are born in the pains of labor. Lacking that context, our words are trifles — hollow diatribes that are forgotten before the browser’s Back button is pressed.

Dr Charles Stanley once asked a gathering of people that I was part of: “Are you satisfied with making an Impression, or do you want to make an Impact?” He went on to explain that truly impactful sermons are crafted only in earnest and extended periods of prayer: heartfelt, gut-wrenching intercession. That is the soil that the seeds of the Master’s word can sprout in. That is the birthplace of the compelling word.

Another great friend and mentor was Darrie Turner. He served the role of the wise elder counselor when I was a young pastor. He always seemed to have brilliant words of advice whenever I went to him with the struggles of my ministry. It dawned on me later that those words did not come to him cheaply. He had recently returned from 10+ years’ service as a missionary in a third world country, working in a home for troubled men. The darkness and pain of that experience (mixed with prolonged prayer and immersion in Scripture) forged in Darrie’s soul a sharpened blade that could cut to the heart of any matter, and was often used to carve my own character. He never failed to bring to me a compelling word.

I don’t blog as often as I would like. My audience is vanishingly small. (Can I hear an ‘Amen’? … Hello? Hello? … Is thing on?). I have often been tempted to try to address that shortcoming and grow my sphere of influence. But I am learning that unless and until I have a true Word from the Master, I really have nothing to say.

And so I shall remain silent.

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