This coming Sunday, September 18, 2011, it is our privilege to welcome Missionary Tommy Tillman to Edgewater, Florida, and the Indian River Baptist Church. If you are in the area, please stop by and hear this great man of God.
With great fondness I remember Bro. Tillman coming by my church and hearing of the amazing stories of a world that seemed universes away to me and people with whom I have yet to mingle to this day. We heard stories of Thailand and Mongolia, lepers and Gobi desert nomads. What a miracle of God’s grace!
In preparation for this meeting, Bro. Tillman and Harbor Evengelism sent me a packet of information. Inside of that packet was a biography of Bro. Tillman’s life. It is entitled, “Embracing the Untouchables.” I read the book and lost myself in its pages. It read like the story of Peter, or Paul or other great missionary pioneers. My admiration for his work intensified, and so did my excitement for our Sunday together.
As I looked on my bookshelf this morning, I was unable to go straight to the book. I looked through my books on the biblical languages. My eyes took me through my commentaries. The book was not in my great volumes on eschatology. It was nowhere to be found. In fact, it was there all the time, it was just that the Lord had something for me in my delay in finding the book. After a while, I finally found it tucked in between a volume entitled, “Soulwinning Stories” and a historical guide to Edgewater.
It was then that the Lord impressed this truth upon my heart: that our studies of the doctrines of the Bible, our understanding of words, etymologies and definitions, our ability to enunciate the apostle’s doctrine or decry false doctrine makes no difference at all if we be not filled and controlled with the same Holy Spirit that has used the life of Tommy Tillman. It is not our doxology God uses; it is not our theology that God necessarily uses; it is obedience, faithfulness and Spirit-fulness that God uses.
We could seek the church-planting prowess of Paul, the penmanship of David, the strength of Samson, the miraculous ministry of Gideon, the love of John, the preaching prowess of Apollos, the heart of Jeremiah or the prayer-force of Elijah’s ministry, but we would stand empty in that endless search with broken hearts, because it is not those things that we should seek. It is the Holy Spirit from whom all those abilities come that we should seek.
The Word stills says, Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts (Zechariah 4:6). That is what we need!