Ministry, Preaching

PulpitPreachers often pray for unction as they preach, but what is it? E.M. Bounds explains:

Unction is that indefinable, indescribable something which an old, renowned Scotch preacher describes thus: ‘There is sometimes somewhat in preaching that cannot be described either be matter of expression, and cannot be described what it is, or from whence it cometh, but with a sweet violence it pierceth into the heart and affections and comes immediately from the Lord.’ We call it unction. It is this unction which makes the Word of God ‘quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.’ It is this unction which gives the words of the preacher such point, sharpness, and power, and which creates such friction and stir in many a dead congregation. The same truths have been told in the strictness of the letter, smooth as human oil could make them; but no signs of life, not a pulse throb; all as peaceful as the grave and as dead. The same preacher in the meanwhile receives a baptism of this unction, the divine inflatus is on him, the letter of the Word has been embellished and fired by this mysterious power, and the throbbing of life begin – life which receives or life which resists. The unction pervades and convicts the conscience and breaks the heart.

This divine unction is the feature which separates and distinguishes true gospel preaching from all other methods of presenting the turret, and which creates a wide spiritual chasm between the preacher who has it and the one who has it not. It supports and impregnates revealed truth with all the energy of God. Unction is simply putting God in his own Word and on his own preacher. By mighty and great prayerfulness and by continual prayerfulness, it is all potential and personal to the preacher; it inspires and clarifies his intellect, gives insight and grasp and projecting power; it gives to the preacher heart power, which is greater than head power; and tenderness, purity, force flow from the heart by it. Enlargement, freedom, fullness of thought, directness and simplicity of utterance are the fruits of this unction… what of unction? It is the indefinable in preaching which makes it preaching. It is that which distinguishes and separates preaching from all mere human addresses. It is the divine in preaching.

E.M. Bounds in Power Through Prayer (Chapter 15)

(By: Nick Kennicott)

Global Consequences

Culture, Missions, The Gospel

Oil HandsOver the past five years, my life has been increasingly intertwined with the nation of Nigeria. Each year I spend more time in Nigeria and continue to build deeper relationships with people who have become some of my closest friends. I am thankful for the work God is doing through us in Nigeria and I pray He will continue to bless our efforts.

One of the things that I’ve learned more about while keeping a keen eye on Nigeria is the global consequences of decisions that are made at a national/federal level in each country. I have a vested interest in the value of the US Dollar in Nigeria, so I watch the exchange rate on a regular basis. Over the past two months the US Dollar to Nigerian Naira exchange rate has fluctuated significantly, and it has raised great concern in my heart for my friends — my brothers and sisters in Christ — in Nigeria.

As the United States has become more energy independent, there has been a significant pull-back from the purchase of crude oil from other nations. One of the nations that has been hit the hardest is Nigeria. While previously importing tens of millions of barrels of oil from Nigeria each month, the US is no longer importing any (Read – Needle on Zero: Nigeria’s Economy Tanking as US Oil Exports Dry Up). As a result, in the US we have seen some dramatic reductions in fuel costs while the Nigerian economy suffers more and more. This is, of course, how a free market works, and I’m not opposed to it. However, my personal philosophy of economics and political principles are challenged when I have to look the consequences in the face and see it all first hand.

I pray regularly for the prosperity of Nigeria (Jeremiah 29:7), but recognize that with a collapsing economy that is 70% dependent on crude oil exports and is depleted another 10% by corruption, true financial prosperity is a far reach from their current status. Currently, Nigeria is 24th in the global economy in terms of GDP. How will that change over the next 10 years? As the largest nation in Africa containing one of the 10th largest cities in the world (Lagos), Nigeria has a booming population with tremendous resources and potential. How will it be utilized?

Far more serious than the economic poverty in Nigeria is its spiritual poverty. Of the 10 richest “pastors” in the world, 6 of them are in Nigeria! Some of these men have a net worth of over $125 million while the majority of the nation lives on the equivalent of less than $2 per day. One of the positive outcomes in my mind that could come from financial collapse is the exposing of these charlatans. How long will men be able to justify their lavish lifestyles with private jets and designer suites while some people will literally starve to death?

This is a prime harvest field for true gospel labors. While Nigeria is bombarded with a false gospel, it is our time to infiltrate the enemy’s territory with the pure, unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. Many people will continue looking for answers, and when their false religious systems fail and the false promises of prosperity pimps never come true, where will they turn? May God be pleased to raise up His church in Nigeria to preach the truth. May He be pleased to continue to strengthen our efforts to train men for gospel ministry who can plant faithful, biblical churches all throughout the nation. And may God be pleased to receive glory from all that happens in Nigeria. What nations and corrupt politicians intend for evil, surely God intends it all for good.

(By: Nick Kennicott)