YOUNG PREACHER FRIEND OF MINE LEADS AN EXCEPTIONALLY FAST-growing church just outside Nashville, Tennessee. I’ve stood in the “galleries” through the years and watched the mighty way God uses him, and I’m convinced that the Holy Spirit is all over his life. His name is Myron Edmonds.
 
Edmonds is a great leader and preacher. But that’s not the major thing I value in him. It’s the genuineness and authenticity of his heart that exceeds all the other significant gifts God has poured into him. And by the way, that’s what God values most in all of us—the quality of our hearts.
 
During the last few months, Myron has taken on a Sabbath morning ministry of inspiration and encouragement that has deeply blessed me, along with many other men and women of God. It’s targeted especially for those who stand in pulpits across the country on Sabbath mornings and declare with boldness that there still is a word from the Lord.
 
It’s so easy for those of us who stand in pulpits Sabbath after Sabbath to allow our sermons to devolve into nothing but a nice discourse to nice people who give the appearance that they have need of nothing. Other pastors sometimes deliver well-crafted theoretical talks that have no application to real life, leaving those in the pews who are hurting and grappling for hope with a sense that what happens in church is disconnected from life at the street level.
 
Young Pastor Edmonds, however, refuses to allow any of us to get away with not giving our all in the pulpit every Sabbath morning. He pushes us to preach with an anointing received each Sabbath from the Holy Spirit.
 
Every Sabbath morning Myron inundates our cell phones with text messages that insist that we get fixed and focused for what is about to take place that morning in the pulpit. I’ve begun calling his text pronouncements “Myronisms.”
 
Here are a few examples, written in the jargon of text messages:
 
“Go to work like u know how. Go to worship like u know He’s good. Go to war like u know He has given u the victory! PREACH!! PREACH!! PREACH!!!!!”
 
On the Sabbath of Easter weekend he wrote: “Get Him out of the tomb, brethren! God is not dead! He’s alive! Preach w/resurrection power!”
 
Every pastor at one time or another mounts the pulpit with a heavy heart, struggling with the pressures of life, and still trying to share a word of encouragement with those who wait in the pews. Myron wrote this:
 
“If u r preaching thru a storm like I am today, set your sails and let the wind of God’s Spirit push u. We’re @ war, and we wrestle not against church members. Victory!!! And if the storm doesn’t cease, drop anchor and hook 2 the Rock. The storm is passing over! Hallelujah!”
 
Two of Myron’s messages really reached me one Sabbath morning: “Ready. Aim. Fire! Down goes Satan. Heb 4:16.” Then this one: “Don’t forget to appeal! Appeal like it’s the last Sabbath on earth. One more thing; enjoy your own preaching all by yourself!! And tell the devil to [get lost]!! In Jesus name, Amen.”
 
This past Sabbath he sent a memorable message, employing a great sports metaphor. I wanted to stand to my feet and shout: “4th quarter. Ur down by double digits. 2 minutes left. You’ve been off all night and in ‘foul’ trouble. Call time out. Put Jesus in. Call Jesus a play. Game over!”
 
I’m more convinced than ever that we who stand in the pulpit are in a battle. The enemy has drawn a target on our backs. He battles us all week long. He wars against pastors as they prepare their sermons. He takes aim to distract pastors with issues that arise even in their own homes. He surely unleashes all the fury of hell when the men and women of God take the pulpit.
 
So week by week many of us wait for our next “Myronism,” those wonderful words of war. 
 
____________
Fredrick A. Russell is president of the Allegheny West Conference, with headquarters in Columbus, Ohio.





 
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