I’m at The Cove in Asheville, North Carolina for the next three days. This is the first Billy Graham School of Evangelism for 2009, and I’ll lead “Keys to Thriving in the Smaller Church” tomorrow afternoon. But tonight we feasted on the preaching of Reverend Dr. Robert Smith, Professor of Christian Preaching at Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Alabama.
His text was Acts 8:26-39, the story of Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch. Here are some particularly delightful quotes:
“The exegetical escort — the preacher — escorts the hearer by the inspired Word of God, into the presence of Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, for the purpose of transformation.”
“The game is not played in the huddle.”
“It took persecution (of the church) to get them to a particular place.”
“To be a Christian then meant more than raising your hands.”
“Christ was not, in terms of Calvary, Plan B. He was Plan A.”
“God writes the Bible backwards. Revelation is about what happened, Genesis is about how it happened.”
When Moses and Elijah come to the Mount of Transfiguration, they did so because “they knew they were in heaven on credit.”
“God does not have an inexhaustible vocabulary. Once God has said ‘Jesus,’ He can’t say anything more.”
The Samaritans were of the “canine community — mongrels.”
“If every reference to the Holy Spirit was taken out of the Bible, we would still try to operate the church. But there are some moves that will not happen in the church just because you write a big check.”
“It’s not what you have, it’s whose hands you put it into.” (referring to the loaves and fish)
“Don’t despise the small things.”
“God is the only one who knows how to multiply by dividing. And he knows how to promote by demoting.”
“Prepare carefully but preach freely.”
“God is waiting on the church to declare its ignorance.”
“The best theologian I ever sat under was my Mama. She can’t pronounce the word ‘omnipresent’ to this day, but she just says, ‘God is so big that everywhere He moves, He bumps into Himself.”
Regarding racial reconciliation: “If we can’t sit together (like Phillip and the Ethiopian eunuch in the chariot) then we can’t go down into the water together.”
“We are cleansed by the Word and clothed by the righteousness of God.”
“When you start in the Bible, you have to go to Jesus.”
So, you can see we were in for a treat. The 300 preachers and spouses here were standing, applauding, amen-ing, and shouting by the time Dr. Smith was finished. You had to be there. I’m glad I was. More tomorrow.
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