The Burning Tongue – the gift of Preaching

I preached this Sunday.
When I say preached, I mean I was pretty much blown away by God.
On Saturday we had our Alpha Day, as a leader I didn’t get prayed for but I asked God during the day for the gift of preaching and I could feel my tongue burning.
I’ve actually been preaching for several years, maybe once a term or so. I’m doing a course called Authorisation to Preach, so I am in training and I write essays for it. It’s been quite enjoyable and as a teacher I am quite used to speaking in public, but preaching feels different. I’ve been nervous of the sacred element. Nervous of getting it wrong. I’ve been preaching from notes so I don’t forget or misquote God or say something I didn’t mean.
For Sunday as a new departure I borrowed a projector and screen and used a PowerPoint. I followed the passage (Mark 3:1-6) from the man with the withered hand using images and I chose the Old Testament passage in 1 Kings 13:1-6 where King Jeroboam’s hand is shrivelled and then restored.
What is amazing is…it kind of happened to me. Like in the stories of old. My tongue felt like it was burning inside, both on the Alpha day afternoon and then in the service and during the preaching on the Sunday. And when I finished, I prayed for them all (Acts 4: Stretch out your hand, God…etc) and then I went and sat down, and nobody moved, everyone just sat there in total silence for the longest time, so much so that I wondered if I should go and say something more! And when we did the Peace everyone wanted to talk to me, everyone without exception loved it.
I feel different now. Even if it never happens again, I know I am a preacher and I know what that feels like, to say stuff you just know is for the people and directly from God. You hear it coming out of your mouth and you know it wasnt in the plan but it’s Him speaking through you. I’m not saying I didn’t prepare, because I did prepare loads, Greek and bible history and everything, but in the delivery it went across somehow. I’ve felt quite shaky since, to be honest, and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve preached and felt that way afterwards, because its hard to process and it doesn’t feel like I thought it would. It rocked my world. I feel like I’d like to talk to someone else who’s been there.
So, I’m a woman with a PowerPoint and a burning tongue, talking about a man with a withered hand, and God showed up, like in the olden days, like in the books and stories.
That’s what it feels like, this week, to be a woman preacher. Probably the same as it feels for the men, because what matters is that God fed His sheep, not who spilled the bucket for them.

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