Jimmy McNeal


Mar 12, 2018

The Gift of Teaching

"The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers" - 1 Peter 4:7

This was the text I was given to preach for the first time at my church. Read that again, slowly. This was the text I was given to PREACH. Yeah, PREACH...ON STAGE...IN FRONT OF OUR CONGREGATION. No singing involved. I was shocked when my lead pastor, Kevin Peck, pulled me aside after a Sunday morning service and told me his thoughts on having me preach at some point within the next 2 months. I'll be honest and say that this was not something I had aspirations of doing at my own church. I'm content with where he has me in this stage of life, but unbeknownst to Kevin, I had been praying about the whole idea of teaching for a few years now. It all started when my wife pulled me aside and told me that I had the gift of teaching. I didn't believe her. I started comparing myself to every man I knew that was a teacher and clearly stated to my conscience..."You are not that". I trust my wife, so I added it to my list of prayer request. While asking God to reveal to me if I had the gift of teaching, I decided to say yes to the opportunities...if they came. Crazy things happen when your prayers are in line with God's will. You get answers, and in this circumstance those answers came very quickly! I started getting asked to teach at different things and as I saw the doors open, I fought to simply say yes.

Almost every Friday, I would pray "God reveal to me if I have this gift and grow me in it if I do". It's not often you get to see a prayer answered the way I got to over the last 4 years. This prayer I was praying was answered in this message that was given. I honestly didn't even want to post about it, but "it ain't about me", so why not just post it.

Halim Suh, a brother of mine that I've had the privilege of being shaped by, was a huge help in prepping this message. Preparation wasn't easy by any means and my respect for pastors that do this week in and week out has truly grown. It was convicting, rewarding, fun, hard, challenging, and so good for my own personal walk with Jesus. As I preached that day, I felt both empowered and humbled to stand and teach this congregation that I lead worship for, but this Sunday it was through teaching, not singing! I love my church y'all! The main reason I started going to this church back in 2003 was because of the teaching, and here I was doing the thing that made me fall in love with The Austin Stone. I remember leaving that Sunday in awe at the fact that God would give me the opportunity to teach at my home church. Seeing my Elders, Pastors and other leaders in the congregation that day was even more humbling for me. Even when you get some affirmation about how something went, you still may question whether or not you're gifted in that area. I'm not sure if this happens to you, but it happens to me with singing, and it definitely happened after this message. Folks told me I did a good job, but I still was unsure if I had the gift. 

I got to sit with Halim later for feedback and expected him to dissect the heck out of this message. Tears unexpectedly filled my eyes as my elder, pastor, mentor, and friend affirmed what I had been praying and asking God the last 4 years. God knew I needed to hear it from someone who's been doing it and been affirmed himself in order for me to actually begin to believe it. Halim affirmed this gift of teaching and encouraged me to continue down this path of using this gift as often as possible.

So now I simply want to share my first message to ever teach at The Austin Stone. Below you'll find the audio of the actual message. At the beginning you will hear our Lead Worship Pastor, Aaron Ivey introduce me. I can't believe I get to do what I do and get to do it with men like Halim and Aaron. God continues to use these men to help me grow in these gifts and talents God's given me. I pray this message blesses and convicts you like it did me.

"Praying in the End Times"


Nothin' but love,



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