But Scared as a Jack Rabbit!Does This Sound like You?
by Pastor John Hamel
Testimonial: "Your article 'Called to Preach but
Scared as a Jack Rabbit' made a profound impact on me. I am finding speaking
so much easier. I am speaking with more boldness & confidence than ever
before. I minister in the local jail facility & next month I start at a
women's prison. My volunteer position has turned into a paid Assistant
Chaplain position. By God's goodness I was ordained during Winter Bible
Seminar & how that happened was purely God's favor as it was not
something I sought after. Thank you again for taking the time & being
led by the Holy Spirit, to put those words on the Internet. It made a
difference in my life." KH, Oklahoma, USA
"For ye see your
calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many
mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things
of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of
the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the
world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things
which are not, to bring to nought things that are.
That no flesh should glory in his presence …" (1 Corinthians -31)
There’s something in the above verse of Scripture you don’t
want to miss.Especially if you are called to preach the Gospel and have
cold feet.Maybe you think you
aren’t wise enough or noble enough to undertake such a task.Possibly you feel you are too weak, base
and despised to preach the Gospel.
Well, I have good news.The above verses reveal those are all qualifications to preach the
Gospel.Lacking wisdom, ignoble,
weak, base and despised.These are
all the reasons God has called you to preach the Gospel.Sound foolish to you?Do you wonder why He would call the unwise,
ignoble, weak, base and despised?Well, God answers that question in the very same passage of
Scripture.“That no flesh should
glory in My presence.” (Vs. 29)
The Rule of the House
Almighty God deliberately chooses unqualified people to preach
His Word so they will not become dependent upon themselves.He deliberately chooses unqualified
people to preach His Word so those folks cannot steal His Glory when
supernatural things start happening.This is why He called me.This is why He’s called you.This is why He calls everyone, even men such as the Apostles Peter
When it comes to the Calling of God, inability, not ability, is
the Rule of the House.
Let’s look at a fascinating aspect of their Divine Callings
from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Believers in Galatia.
“For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of
the circumcision, the same was
mighty in me toward the Gentiles:”
Here the Scripture reveals that Peter was called to the
“circumcision.”That’s a reference
to the Jewish people of that day.It
is a reference to the educated Jews who just happened to represent the area
of Peter’s greatest weakness.Peter
was a hot-tempered, uneducated, rough and tumble fisherman.He knew nothing about the Scriptures and
ran in fear from anyone who did.Particularly Jews who were educated in the Scripture.
All Peter knew how to do was fish, stink like fish, lose his
temper and throw punches at problems.Those were his very best credentials.Yet, here we see God’s Call on his life
to the sophisticated, high-stepping educated Jews.Why would God do such a thing with
Peter?Simple answer.So Peter wouldn’t become dependent upon
himself in his Ministry.So Peter
couldn’t take any credit for all the good things that would occur through
his preaching and eventual writing, as well.Just like you and me.
Now let’s look at the Apostle Paul.Paul himself says in this very same verse
that the Holy Spirit “…worked effectively in me towards the Gentiles.”
The Gentiles.Those are
non-Jews.Paul didn’t know a whole
lot about non-Jews.He grew up
pretty much isolated from the Gentiles. He was raised and educated in a
strict and scholarly traditional Jewish environment.He was from the elite Jewish Tribe of
Benjamin and was one of the absolute best Hebrew Teachers of his time, if
not of all time.He even said so right
here to the Philippian Believers.
“…If any man thinketh that he hath
whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of
the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as
touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church;
touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.” (Philippians
Paul’s specialty was Jews.Educated Jews.He probably
knew more about the Scripture than all of them combined.However, he knew nothing about
uneducated, unclean, uncouth Gentiles.So, the Holy Spirit looked at Paul’s extremely impressive portfolio
and said, in essence, “Pretty good, Paul. I’m impressed with your Hebrew
credentials. You are the bee’s knees of Pharisees.Sweet.You got it down when it comes to dealing with educated Jews.Therefore, I’m sending you into the area
of your greatest weakness, too.Uneducated Gentiles.”
Why in the world would Almighty God send educated Paul to
answer.So Paul wouldn’t become
dependent upon himself in Ministry.So Paul couldn’t take any credit for all the good things that would
occur through his preaching and eventual writing.Just like you and me.
Therefore, I would say to you today if you feel a call to
preach the Gospel and you feel completely unqualified and as scared as a
jackrabbit – welcome to the Gospel Preaching Society, where your lack of
qualifications are your best credentials.
I speak experientially.When God saved me and called me to preach I
was a literal wreck.I
was addicted to drugs and alcohol.I
was consumed with fear and anger.I
could not maintain eye-contact with one person, let alone a room full of
people or a couple of television cameras.
But that’s exactly why God called me.He didn’t want me to be dependent upon
myself in my Ministry. That way when lives were changed through my
preaching and teaching and writing, I couldn’t steal His Glory.When signs and wonders followed my
preaching, I could never say, “Well, will you look at that.Aren’t I something?”Absolutely not!
Everyone, including me, already knew I
was nothing when God found me.I was
foolish, weak, base and despised.But when everyone else walked out on me, Jesus walked in and gave me a
supernatural gift to preach and to teach His Word.It is entirely supernatural.Just as it is with you.
I did not start out preaching to big groups or with excellence
either.I stumbled my way nervously
through little Bible studies.But I
was faithful to do whatever God gave me to do in spite of being scared.
Prayer for the Boldness of Smith Wigglesworth
I then followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to attend a
reputable BibleSchool in central Oklahoma.While there I heard an 83-year-old man,
Brother Case, speak about how nervous he was as a young man in England to obey the
Calling of God on his life.He was
scared as a rabbit, too.He told a
story of how as a little boy he had opportunity to be around the great
British Apostle of Faith, Smith Wigglesworth.
Because of their friendship, he was able
to go to Brother Wigglesworth as a young man and seek his counsel
concerning his own nervousness.At
that time Brother Wigglesworth reached out, laid hands upon him and prayed,
“Father, let the boldness of Smith Wigglesworth come upon this young lad to
preach Your Word, in Jesus’ Name.”
Brother Case testified of how nervousness and lack of
confidence ceased to be a problem for him from that day.For over sixty years he had now been
preaching the Gospel with the boldness of Smith Wigglesworth.
After that service I saw Brother Case standing beside his car
in the parking lot so I approached him quite nervously.I explained that I had suffered from the
same malady he had as a young preacher.I asked him if he would please pray for me.
He smiled and without hesitation placed
his hand upon my head and boldly prayed, “Father, let the boldness of Smith
Wigglesworth that came upon me that day now come upon this young man to
preach Your Word, in Jesus’ Name.”
didn’t feel anything special happen at that moment, but I knew in my heart
that God had heard this faithful man’s prayer.
The first time I actually stood up and preached to a crowd was
soon after that in my Bible School Preaching Lab.There were ninety-nine other Ministers in
that class and I was so intimidated by the thought of having to preach
under their scrutiny that I could have died.There were times leading up to that day
when I actually hoped I would.Die,
Devised a Jack Rabbit Plan of Escape
Preaching Lab was scheduled at the end of
the school year, so I devised a plan.I told myself,
“I’ll attend classes right up until the Preaching Lab and then I’ll just bail
out.I’ll quit school.At least that way I will have learned more
about the Bible, and I won’t have to stand up in front of my peers and fall
on my face.”
So that’s what I did.I
stayed in school right up until the day it was my turn to preach.I even prepared a sermon, pretending that
I was going to preach, fasting and
praying for three days beforehand.Sounds ridiculous, I know.But I was going to do everything short of the preaching – and then
run like a jack rabbit in the opposite direction when my time came.
For weeks I had sat in the Lab listening to everyone take their
turns.I was cool as a cucumber
because I knew I was bailing out when my day came.However, something unusual happened on
the day I was scheduled to preach.I
got up that morning and actually dressed for my classes in spite of my
“Jack Rabbit Plan."The Holy Spirit began
to move upon me encouraging my heart that with His help I could actually do
My stomach filled with hundreds of thousands of butterflies but
a strange confidence seemed to settle upon me.It was the Spirit of the Lord which had
come upon me to preach the Gospel according to Luke 4:18.
I drove to the campus, wondering what in
the world I was doing and parked.I
walked over to the park across the street and threw up.That’s right – I vomited.
Once that was out of the way I had the
thought, “Praise the Lord, at least I won’t be doing that in the Preaching
I straightened my tie and walked
back across the street to the campus.Palms sweating, feet nervously tapping, I actually sat there in the
Preaching Lab awaiting my turn.My
body and my mind were telling me to run fast and far like a jack rabbit, but my
heart was telling me to hold steady, something good was going to happen.
“What have I got to lose,” I
figured.“I’ve already thrown
Anointing Came Upon Me like a Cloak
Then came my turn.I
nervously stepped up onto the platform, placing my notes on the
pulpit.Instead of looking down at
my feet, I was compelled to start looking individuals right in the eye all
across the room.That strange confidence
settled on me like a cloak.
opened my mouth to speak and it seemed as if my sermon literally poured out
of my spirit.It was working.The prayer Brother Case had prayed was
working. I was no longer afraid.I
felt tremendous boldness and authority.It wasn’t me having to come up with what to say.The Holy Spirit was speaking through me
and I was thoroughly enjoying it.
boldness that Brother Case had prayed down upon me, the boldness of Smith
Wigglesworth had actually come upon me, if only in part.
It was the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The time passed too quickly.Suddenly it was over and the room was filled with voices shouting “Amen”
and “Hallelujah.” Dozens of people flocked to the platform to commend me.Many actually asked for a copy of my
message.I was entirely shocked by
this response.I had sat through
many Preaching Labs without ever once seeing this happen.I am not boasting.I’m the weak one who threw up,
remember?I’m giving Glory to
God.I’m trying to encourage you to
As stunned as I was by this response, I now had the
confirmation I needed.I was indeed
called to preach the Gospel in spite of natural fear, doubt, anxiety and
every other human weakness.God
would help me as promised and I wasn’t crazy after all.I continued on with BibleSchool and even graduated
with excellent grades.
I am so
thankful to the Holy Spirit that He gave me the grace to follow through
with the Preaching Lab and with Ministry.
Butterflies Flying in Formation
Still to this day, well over thirty years later, I experience a
certain degree of nervousness prior to standing up to preach or to
teach.But I’ve learned to release
that nervous energy confidently as part of my delivery.
Sure, I still have butterflies in my
stomach but now they just fly in tight formation.As I am faithful to study, pray and properly
prepare beforehand, the Holy Spirit is always faithful to anoint me with
supernatural preaching ability.He’s
always faithful to anoint me with what I believe to be a measure of the
of Brother Smith Wigglesworth.
The Bible says that God is no respecter of persons. (Acts
10:34; Romans 2:11)This means He
does not show more respect for one person than He does for another.What He has been so faithful to do for
the Apostle Peter, the Apostle Paul, Smith Wigglesworth, Brother Case,
Brother Hamel and so many others, He will be faithful to do for you.
Although He is calling you to the area of
your greatest weakness, He will empower you for special service to
Him.How?Not by the might or the power of your
human hand, but by the power of His Holy Spirit.
“…Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Zechariah 4:6)
“The Spirit of the Lord
is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor;
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the
captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that
are bruised,” (Luke 4:18)
The Anointing of God will come upon you even as it came upon
Jesus to preach the Gospel supernaturally.If you will do a little thing and pray, prepare and obey, He’ll do a
big thing.He will give you
supernatural ability to speak to the hearts and minds of His people, just
like He did with Jesus.
wonders will follow you, similar to the way they did with Jesus. (John
People will know that you
have spent time with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
Satan’s defeat will be enforced.God will be exalted.Jesus
will be lifted up.
Hell will be
plundered and Heaven will be populated.
When it comes time to stand before Him in Judgment, Christ will give you all the credit for what He did through
you.Such a deal!
Pray this prayer aloud:“Father, I believe what I just read.Without You I am nothing.But
with You I can do everything through Christ Who strengthens me.Please send the same boldness to me that
you sent to Brother Hamel and Brother Case by impartation through Brother
Wigglesworth.I will use it to seek
and save the lost and to destroy the works of Satan in the lives of Your
precious creation.In Jesus’ Strong
Name.” (Luke 19:10; 1John 3:8)