"When was the last time you pitched your cross into the depths of your problem?"
Pastor Tim Hill challenges readers to re-examine their lives in his book The Speed of Favor. He focuses on how important it is to search your heart and ask yourself: Am I putting my ministry over my actual relationship with God?
Hill found he easily became lost in his pastoral responsibilities. At one point in his life, he hosted multiple television and radio ministries, and he hopscotched from one speaking engagement to the next. On top of that, the daily care of the church meant counseling members and attending an endless lineup of staff meetings to discuss construction for a new multipurpose facility.
Of course, this was all to the glory of God. Hill's commitment to his work was a testament to God's influence in his life. However, it got to the point when it was all performance, not power.
"I was still preaching well," Hill says. "People were being saved and the church seemed to be experiencing a good rate of growth. Yet I would soon be reminded that 'good' isn't the same as 'God.'"
Hill's experience reminds us of a sobering truth: If we speak in the tongues of men and of angels, if we have the gift of prophecy or the kind of faith that can move mountains, even if we give all we possess to the poor and surrender our body to the flames—we are nothing if we have no love. If it is all done out of habit or formality, not out of love, we get nowhere (see 1 Cor. 13:1-3).
It may seem like common sense on paper. But in practice, churches slip into placing more value on outward expressions of worship than on the heart from which it derives.
Hill says, "Some have mistakenly thought that singing faster songs, jumping higher, and shouting louder would get the job done. But I'm reminded of what Paul wrote to the Galatian Christians: 'Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?' (Galatians 3:3, KJV.)"
Hill reached a point when he walked into his office, and the idea of praying or reading the Bible for his own personal edification didn't even cross his mind. But with his head buried in work, he felt a voice deep in his spirit say:
"Shut it down. I want you back."
Stunned, Hill was prompted to take a spiritual inventory of his life. On the surface, he appeared to be in a strong place spiritually. But in reality, he felt distant from God. So much so that the words 'I want you back' felt branded on his heart. He believed God was calling him back to the passion that first fueled his ministry.
So he decided to make changes—especially to his workload. That way, he could pray more and ultimately carve out time to seek the Lord on his own. Hill turned down speaking engagements and TV and radio programs. He delegated church counseling to someone more qualified than he. He also realized he wasn't called to be a building contractor.
"I was called first to be a disciple of Jesus. Next, I was called to be a devoted husband and father, and then a pastor whose chief responsibility was to be spiritually alive so that I could better equip the church I served," Hill says.
The Speed of Favor includes stories of how Hill broke free from a powerless, status-quo Christian life and embraced a life that enabled him to make a difference in the lives of others. Building on his teachings on Amos 9:13, Hill calls readers to move to a new level of trust and confidence in God and a higher level of faith and expectation.
This article is based on The Speed of Favor: How God Exceeds, Increases, and Accelerates Your Life (Charisma House, 2019) by Tim Hill. Hill is an ordained bishop in the Church of God and currently serves as the general overseer. He is also a published author and gospel songwriter. He travels extensively across the United States and around the world, ministering at major denominational and interdenominational conventions, camp meetings and conferences.
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