I’ve been going to church all my life. From my home church, church camps, conferences, concerts and chapel services I’ve heard hundreds of preachers speak. Francis Chan is one guy that I’ve had the opportunity to hear twice. He first spoke at One Thing in Kansas City. I remember being extremely moved by his message, yet I couldn’t tell you what he spoke on. Yesterday, he was in Colorado Springs at a Focus on the Family chapel service. My family didn’t pass up that opportunity and I was excited to hear him with a smaller, more direct group.
I don’t want to forget this sermon 2 years from now and want to share his heart and wisdom with you. As I’ve said, I’ve heard many preachers in my life but none that get down on their knees to pray for direction and the Spirit to move. That Chan did and also, maybe without realizing it, led to Ephesians 3:14-19, which fit his entrance/prayer technique perfectly. “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith- that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and the length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
Structure is definitely important when preparing a sermon, but Chan is unlike any preacher I’ve heard. Without realizing it, his bold prayer for direction on what to speak was a little taste of what the Word was about to reveal- of the man and woman of God that he was about to describe. The following is the Word God put on his heart, and the way the Spirit touched me through Francis Chan.
Our preachers are wonderful people of God, with lots of knowledge and love for God and people. How often though are our preachers bowing before God on their knees, praying by name for the people in the church? Chan even said it himself, “You can have all the lessons planned out and even the worst preacher up there, but if that preacher is bowing before the Father, and praying that his people would be filled with the power of the Spirit from their inner being, then none of the rest matters.”
This isn’t just for preachers. It’s for believers to pray for their loved ones. It’s for parents to pray for their children. Are we praying that Ephesians prayer- that our children would know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge? This love that surpasses knowledge, is the Holy Spirit in them. It isn’t making sure your child goes to youth group, a Christian school and is surrounded with “everything Christian.” It’s about your child becoming a slave to what is right. Not about man made rules, but allowing the Holy Spirit to take ROOT in their life. I’ve seen it in many people. Those who grew up in the church did everything to fit that Christian stereotype, yet it never took root. We raise our children in church, but are they simply in a protected greenhouse? As parents (not that I am one), friends, and family are we allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us and praying that for others? I am not one to judge who is rooted in Christ and who isn’t, but I know for a fact that I have received this gift. As I sat listening to Francis Chan speak of having root in Christ, I was brought to tears thinking of how blessed I am. What a gift that I have chosen to accept, to be rooted in Christ. Who knows where I would be without knowing Jesus, and am beyond thankful to have that firm foundation under me. I began then to think of how often I abuse this gift. This root of the Holy Spirit planted in me, I push aside and forget all too often. Sometimes, I even tug at the roots deep within me- wanting to pull out that stem within me which leads to not living for Christ to the fullest. Grace and forgiveness allows me to come back to that place of fullness.
“Father, forgive me for settling for less.”
What really matters when a preacher goes up to speak? Is it living up to that status quo or would you rather be known as a woman/man that is FILLED WITH ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.
As Francis Chan ended his time, worship allowed time to reflect. It was a perfect moment to be real with God, as I often don’t do enough. I cried out to God on behalf of many people in my life. I want everyone I know to experience God from inside their inner being so that it blossoms from the inside out. May I first allow this to be true of myself. As Jesus has died for ME, and given me this free gift, how can I choose to ignore it? The first step is praying that bold prayer.
“Lord, grant me and others the power to understand you. Let it not be a superficial faith, but a faith ROOTED in the fullness of God.”