Priming the Pump

Lately I have read a great deal of commentary on the “ear Tickling” of Trinitarian/ Inclusion theology. Anecdotal as it may be, the observation of snipes at preaching that leaves a church-goer happy has brought me to this blog posting. I once heard a story of a man who was sitting in church to see his niece get baptized. During the main sermon the preacher was holding forth about the evils of this behavior and the pitfalls of the other behavior and condemning all who engaged in said behaviors. During the sermon this man’s father passed him a note that read, “How do you feel?” The man scribbled a response, “I came to get a drink of Living Water

Out of the believer's heart shall flow...

Out of the believer’s heart shall flow…

and instead got a butt whipping!”

Some might suggest that when we hear a message at church we should expect to be convicted and corrected.  Maybe some of us expect to be whipped verbally and spiritually for our past weeks transgressions. Perhaps there is a place for us to be corrected but I would suggest that the arena for such pastoral care is in private so that none are shamed. The Father, Son, and Spirit don’t do shame!

Jesus said that out of the believer’s heart would flow rivers of living waters. Well who is the Living Water? Of course Jesus is the Living Water. I believe messages at church should be the best place in the world to hear the good news of the Father’s relentless love for all of humanity. If we show up at church we should plant our feet and expect to hear the gospel. The word itself means good news.

My Grandfather had an old manually operated well pump on his farm in North Carolina and by the time I came along it was not used much because the technology of the day had replaced it with an automatic electric pump. The old pump did work and my Grandfather used it from time to time to water the dogs or flowers and such. In order to get the water to come out one had to first pour a bucket of water down the top of the pump. This was what Grandpa called priming the pump.

If we wanted to get water from that particular well we had to pour the contents of the old wooden bucket down the top of that pump to start the water flowing. When we drew all the water we needed the last thing we’d do is fill up the bucket and leave it for the next time the pump was to be used.

I submit that the preaching we hear in church should serve as a prime of the pump so-to-speak. Good news should be poured out into us so much so that we get “primed” for the Living Water to spill out all over our world.

Paul the Apostle warned of times when people would not yearn for sound doctrine but would have itching ears and would wander away to myths.

So let me suggest that preaching that beats us over the head about our every shortcoming is not sound doctrine and the god who is a disapproving judge is a myth.

The message of the Church is that you belong to the Father, Son, and Spirit. You always have, you always will, the Father loves you, and likes you. You are his beloved child. So let us not tickle each other’s ears with any other nonsense.

6 comments so far

  1. calebamiller on

    Love it. We need more voices declaring this truth. It isn’t “ear tickling” to tell people Jesus meant it when he said “it is finished” it’s truth!

  2. JoAnn on

    I love this and want to share it with everyone I know!!

  3. Jerome on

    Yep! Good stuff! Hope to help with the pump priming this weekend. Thanks, Bill!

  4. Jeff S on

    Any preaching that makes us feel imperfect is a distraction. I believe God is raising up leaders that understand the gospel and will preach nothing but the Good News!

  5. Steven sell on

    Bill very true! There are some churches that preach grace but end up sprinkling it with wrath and works.

  6. billwinn on

    Indeed everyone, Triune God’s grace needs no additions from us. Truth sets us free and Jesus is the Truth.

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