Yesterday morning I preached at a church in east Texas, near Tyler, with a congregation of about 300 precious people. As I preached, that sweet, old thing that so often does, happened again. The glow came. I have seen it so very many times, but I never take it for granted. Every time it is brand new and wonderful. And every time it is confirming of Holy Spirit's presence in the sanctuary service.
Lest anyone misunderstand, though, the Heavenly light on their faces couldn't have less to do with the preacher, himself. Rather, it has everything to do with the operation of the Holy Spirit as He removes the "earthy" scales from the congregation's mind, the grossness from their heart.
And that impact is so very obvious from the perspective of the pulpit as God's Spirit moves through the crowd turning on the light of personal revelation. Until eventually, the room is aglow with the living, burning truth of God. Faces literally shine with a Heavenly awareness. Eyes speak volumes. At that point, as the preacher, you know that God is making His word heard, not just in their ears, but deep in their hearts.
That is when preaching becomes preaching. That is when "church" becomes a personal encounter with God. And that is when this surly world begins to lose its grip on their lives.
This glow of, "Oh! To the depth of my soul, I am 'getting' this,'" across the faces of a congregation is a phenomenon of matchless beauty and limitless potential. In these holy and precious moments of divine elevation, when the soul is alighted by truth, any thing can happen. Addictions can be conquered. Fears can be overcome. Weighty sins can be loosed. Broken hearts can be mended. Powerful leaps of faith can be made. And some of that happened yesterday.
Such is the power that is connected to the Christian pulpit, and attends no other. It absolutely transcends the superficial - peaked emotions, high tension rhetoric, glib tongues. All of these are but cheap illusional gimmicks in comparison to the operation of divine enlightenment. To be there when truth comes to vibrant life in the power of a Godly awakening, when the Holy Spirit very personally interprets the truth to the individual's perception and need, is an incomparable experience.
Such are the riches that the Church offers to the world - a true encounter with God, and access to His living truth. What a privilege to preach a word that comes to life as I breath it, that has its own life within itself. And what a fulfilling thing to see that renewing life splash across the faces of the congregation in the form of new joy and excitement. Without doubt, mine is the greatest job in the world - bar none.