Preach = Teach + power+ conviction
Every month our church allows those, who so feel the need, to stand up before the congregation and bear their testimony. This is called Testimony meeting. My husband and I recently enjoyed the fruits of our preteen son's testimony as he taught us about service, friendship, and the power of God's spirit as he experienced it.
Preaching usually conotes a listener enduring a teacher's reprimand. One of the functionalities of the gospel that sets the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints apart from other religions, is that it allows its members to explore their own feelings and share them monthly with one another. This allows the congregation to learn through the power and testimony of new converts, young converts, old time seasoned members, as well as anointed church leaders. As I listen to the individual stories of members of my ward, I am often drawn closer to them in the relization that we share similar life struggles. I am reminded of my own struggles and have (in many a testimony meeting) been touched in special ways.
The power of words is very real. Nephi and Lehi saw this as they stood and bore their testimonies to those dissenters who had need of repentance. They also understood as they traveled from city to city declaring the word of God to those who had lost hope.
What always amazes me about the sharing of my testimony either in written word or in spoken testimony is the power of the Holy Ghost that surges through me as I sift through my life to uncover true feelings, true doctrines, and true practices. What is important in the understanding of personal testimony is not who it comes from, but that it comes with a sincere honest spirit that desires to speak the truth.
As our GuitarGuy stood before us on the first week of July, he bore a simple heart felt testimony of the power of being with good peers, and helping another find his way in God's church. It was not showy. His words were not obscure. His words told of a group of twelve year old boys who enjoyed living God's standards in a boyscout camp environment. He told how he was proud to be a member of the church and how his troop stood out for their acts of service and their ability to motivate and honor their scout code. I know that my testimony grew that day. As I looked around the chapel, I saw several of my son's friends sit just a bit taller that day.
Words and Phrases
vs 17 preach with great power - When you set out to teach the word of God, the Holy Spirit gives you power so that others will hear your voice. The Holy Ghost will always be where there is truth. You do not have to teach with a loud voice, or profound words. You only have to speak, like our GuitarGuy did, what is in your heart. The Holy Ghost will do the rest.
vs 17 they did confess their sins - Truth leads us to an honest heart. I believe we all want to have the blessings of having an honest heart. When we hear the truth given to us with the power of the Holy Ghost we have the desire to confess and make retribution to those we have offended
vs 18 they had what they should speak given to them - The joy of writing about scripture is I don't know what I will say until I begin to write it. It is given to me... When we stand to bear our testimony to those who will listen (testimony meeting) if we will listen to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we can find direction to speak what we should. Often times it does not have anything to do with our own personal growth, but we might say something that means a great deal to others. The Holy Spirit knows these things.
vs 19 convinced of the wickedness to the traditions of their fathers - I heard a saying in church last Sunday. A mother said to her daughter: "You are the best of my best attempt to do good". Families try to do what is right. Many times we are led astray and family traditions then become the norm for generations. I.E. Tobacco was introduced to the American Public in WWII when it was given free to the soldiers. The tobacco company knew that it was addicting and that it would enslave not only one American soldier but generations of Americans. Why? Because children tend to do what they see everyday. It took a massive public campaign to convince the public of the wickedness (dangers) of smoking. Preaching did not do it for all. Only the teaching of the younger generation who then pleaded with their parents to stop so that their lives would be prolonged held the answer. We have to all take a look at what small pervasive traditions our families share that need to be corrected so that we can understand the truth of God that is within us.