Words that leave an impression
Author: Barry Steinman
Ern Baxter was one of those rare preachers who was a sound theologian,
but also spoke under an incredible annointing of the Holy Spirit. He
kept you on the edge of your chair. Words were the paintbrush he used
to draw pictures that stayed in your spirit. But it was not his
preaching that left an indelible mark in my spirit, it was his
authenticity and a simple word he shared in his home.
Ern has gone on to be with the Lord. You can read about him in Church History books. Ern was very well know. In his lifetime he preached to incredible crowds.
One night I had the opportunity to stay overnight in his home. The next morning we shared some breakfast on his patio. I greeted him and asked him how he was doing. He looked at me and said, “Well Barry, I think I am depressed this morning.” Then he began to relate some of the things that were upsetting him. I never forgot that moment. Here was a spiritual giant I looked up to. Who would have ever thought he struggled with depression. His honesty and authenticity touched me at the core of my spirit. It was one of those revelatory moments, when I realized there are no Christian Superstars. We are all just normal people that need to be honest with each other and with God.
Ern was one of the forces that got me into relational church life. During the last years of his life, a group of us would gather in his home once a week. He would lead us in a study and we would have great discussions. One day he paused and looked us all in the face. He said: “You know I have preached to over 100,000 people in huge stadiums. But I get much more out of sitting here in my living room with you and sharing the Lord together.”
Here was a man I looked up to. My spiritual ambition hoped that someday i could preach to thousands. But here once again, words penetrated my heart - and showed me the truth. Simple face to face fellowship, authenticity with one another and the Lord - is the ultimate goal.
Ecclesiastes 12:11 The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails-given by one Shepherd.