Several years ago, I was reading an article about the church in South Africa. In the article was a story about the pastor of the local church. He took his friend, a new Christian covert, to a big rally in another town. Many renown preachers preached, musician performed and singers sang. The whole experience was successful and many people were saved.
The man’s pastor was feeling very pleased with the weekend. As they were traveling back home, he noticed his friend was quiet. He asked him how he like the weekend. The friend said he was disappointed. Confused, the pastor asked why he was disappointed.
The friend answered, “I heard many fine singers, talented musicians, and eloquent speakers, but I didn’t hear his name. I wanted to hear his name. I needed to hear the name of Jesus!”
I think of this story often. How many times have I left a worship experience and have never heard the name of Jesus preached? I’ve heard messages on Wesleyan holiness, obtaining personal righteousness, eliminating social injustices, loving the unlovable, practicing servanthood and extravagant generosity. But have I heard about the power in Jesus’ name?
In our culture we do have so much to extol. But are our messages more about social and spiritual issues and less about the power of Jesus? How can we believe that we can change our lives; how can we expect to make a difference in the world if we don’t know where we get the power?
Somewhere among all our witnessing we need to stop and just preach Jesus. We need to preach the power of Jesus. We need to preach the power of his name. Speaking his name can bring healing to the sick. His name can bring the lost home. Invoking his name can bring peace to those struggling. His name can shower love on the loveless. Whispering his name can bring you right to the throne of God.
I wonder, how often have I left someone in a congregation wanting – needing – to hear the name of Jesus?