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Monday, September 28, 2009

Preaching commotion

One of my favorite Spurgeon stories is this. While they were finishing the new Metropolitan Chapel auditorium for the popular young preacher, Spurgeon mounted the pulpit when the building was vacant and decided to try out the acoustics. He stood and bellowed, "Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world." Unknown to him a workman in the balcony was affixing a seat to the floor when he was startled by the preachers voice. He couldn't get the verse out of his mind. He was convicted by it, and eventually brought to repentance and faith in Christ by the Holy Spirit's use of that unintended sermon by Mr. Spurgeon. It was months later that the man met the famous preacher and told him the story of his conversion.

Once when I was preaching an evening service there was a commotion in the pews toward the end of my message. After the service I learned that Karen, who had been a Labri holdout, finally gave in to the "Hound of heaven" and committed her life to Christ. To this day I have no idea if it had any relation to what I was saying from the pulpit. God does move how He pleases, you know.

Then there was the time Norman Short passed out during the hymn following the sermon, and we were all fearful that he had suffered a heart attack. I think the sermon was so long that when he stood up for the final hymn there was not enough blood flowing to his head to keep him from losing consciousness.

Now my wife reminds me that at our small chapel in Neptune, NJ, Ginny Heath tried to sneak into the evening service without it being noticed how late she arrived. Our son, Calvin (later to become a preacher himself), standing in the pew was looking at the door and yelled to her, "Hi!"

When I was preaching at the Boardwalk Chapel in Wildwood, NJ, I hoped to get every one's attention for a brief evangelistic message by asking, "Is anyone here without sin?" I raised my hand, indicating that I wanted a show of hands in answer to my question. A man came striding toward me down the aisle, saying, "Yes, I am." Having never anticipated this reaction, I was not sure what I was going to do next, but Len Chanoux, the manager of the chapel, ushered the man to the side for counsel. Later I learned this man was notorious for his disruption of services. Thanks for running interference, Len.

That experience seems rather tame in comparison with my friend Bill Warren, who, durring his sermon, was accosted by a man suffering dimentia, standing and publicly accusing Bill of having an affair with his aged wife.

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