I have to admit that I’m not really one that stops to listen to someone preaching in the streets. I will stop and listen to a busker with a guitar belting out a tune. I will stop a watch one of those ‘live’ statues dressed in gold that just shist an arm or leg, or tilt their head in another direction every so often. But street preachers? The don’t tend to catch my attention in the same way. And yet Paul, and Jesus, did it all the time.
Last week sometime, I woke up from a dream where I had been preaching in the streets of Inverness. I think it might have been in one of the wee satellite communities like Smithton. I say that because I recognised one of the people. It was preaching. It wasn’t fire and brimstone and there was no altar call. I don’t seem to remember a microphone.
The sermon was one I have actually preached decades ago on the subject of turning the other cheek. In my dream there were Bible verses written on bits of paper. There was audience participation. It was lively and I was in the zone and I gave no one the opportunity to fall asleep. It all came to an end with the arrival of a bus. You know how it is in dreams. It all makes perfect sense until you wake up.
2 Timothy 4:2 ‘Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.’
Years ago, I remember a speaker in the Plymouth Brethren Church I was attending at the time. He had been invited to preach, but I don’t think he had been ‘vetted’. He was a Bible scholar, but not of the same mould. Week in week out, no matter how obscure the Bible passage, there was a gospel message in there somewhere. There was always an altar call regardless of the fact that, as far was we were aware, there were no unsaved people in the meeting. This man, this speaker not of the same mould, told us that church really wasn’t somewhere you brought the unsaved to, that they might hear the gospel message, but a place where you equipped the already-saved to go out and share the gospel with people outside.
It is neither one nor the other, BUT, it is easy sometimes to fall into the trap that it’s someone else’s job – the preacher’s job to present the gospel when it’s all of our jobs to do that.
So back to the dream. I woke with a question. Is that what you want me to do, Lord? Get on bus, go somewhere and preach a sermon? I was already rehearsing my ‘Turn The Other Cheek’ sermon from decades ago. Is this something I need to talk to the pastor about?
The answer wasn’t a resounding ‘No’. It wasn’t an affirming ‘Yes’ either. God simply said, ‘When you are out there on the streets simply talk about Me. Talk about how you encounter Me throughout the day, what we talk about ad what we do together. And then tell them how you got to be where you are in your journey with Me, where it began and how it has moved on. I’ll tell you if a sermon fits or not.’