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Isaac Hovet
Isaac Hovet

I think we all know what it is like to wonder if our preaching is falling on hard soil. While reading through Acts, I was struck by the receptive audiences. It seems that the Holy Spirit went before those ministers.

On the island of Malta, “The natives showed us unusual kindness; for they kindled a fire and made us all welcome, because of the rain that was falling and because of the cold” (Acts 28:2, NKJV).

Jewish leaders in Rome said, “We want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere” (Acts 28:22, NLT).

How encouraging to read these small nuggets of receptivity to the Good News being preached by Paul!

I am reminded that I cannot rightly presume whether people are receptive or not. I am to be like Paul: willing to go, willing to serve, willing to endure—for the sake of the gospel of Jesus.

This week, as I prepare to preach, I will not make assumptions about people. I will trust that the Lord has gathered a listening congregation. I’ll obey—He’ll soften hearts!

This Week’s Prayer Focus [5 in 5]

Personal Prayer

1. Invite the Holy Spirit to show you if you’ve bought into the temptation to doubt His ability to soften hearts. Confess, and be strengthened in your faith.

2. Do you have people praying for you as you prepare to preach/teach? Thank God for them, and tell them how their prayers have buoyed you.

3. Ask someone (who won’t tell you what you want to hear) if your preaching is believable. Does your belief in the Holy Spirit’s power to soften and change hearts come through in conviction? Ask that person to pray for you!

Foursquare Focus

4. Please pray that God would prepare the heart and mind of the next president of The Foursquare Church, as we work through the presidential selection process.

5. Pray for a wave of receptive new hearts to come into Foursquare churches this fall, and that leadership would be ready to welcome them with open arms.

Share your thoughts. See comments below, and add your own.

is the senior pastor of New Hope Foursquare Church (Salem East Foursquare Church) in Salem, Ore.