Before I Became a Blogger, I Was a Speaker

If you’re an active follower of my blog, you’ll notice that I sometimes blog on my blogging journey. But before I became a blogger, I was a speaker already. So in this blog, I’ll be recounting my journey as a speaker.

It All Started in 2008

I became active in the campus ministry in 2008. My discipler, who also happened to be the campus missionary assigned to my school, challenged me to lead the Bible study in one of our fellowship gatherings. By faith, I accepted it.

So I prepared. I remember that the message I gave was about Peter walking on water. And I recall that I gave the message on January 28 and 29, and that the fellowship group was seated at the lobby of one of the buildings of our school.

After I lead the Bible study, many from the group approached me and said that they were blessed by the message. It was a shock to me. For me, I was just doing my responsibility, not expecting any praise or affirmation from others.

Then on February and March, I again lead the Bible study. And I’m starting to like what I’m doing.

Leading some of the Bible studies for my campus group continued in the next school year. Then in our campus retreat, done on September, I gave the message for the dawn watch session. During the breakfast, which happened right after the dawn watch, two female friends seated at a table next to mine told me that they were blessed by the message and affirmed that I have the gift of speaking. While they were still speaking, the youth pastor approached me, seated down next to me, and also affirmed that I have the gift of speaking. He then told me the strong points of my message. By now, I understand that I possess the gift of teaching.

While I continued leading in Bible studies after the retreat (and I also gave another dawn watch message in a college retreat on October), I was finally given my biggest speaking engagement so far. My discipler and I teamed up to give a message for the youth service of my church. I can vividly remember that when I stepped down the stage, I immediately felt a sense of unworthiness. But soon, people were approaching me, telling me how the message impacted them. I simply believe it’s really not me speaking, but the Holy Spirit. I was humbled and graced.

I can’t believe that it all happened in 2008.

My Commitment to Expository Preaching

I continued speaking in 2009. But on September that year, I encountered this thing called expository preaching. It’s the kind of preaching where the point of a passage is taken, making it the point of the sermon and application. I made some readings about it and learned how it is done. But I was only fully convinced of its primacy when I read Nehemiah 8:8, 12:

8They [Ezra and others] read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Emphases added)

12And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them. (Emphases added)

Ezra and others “they gave the sense,” meaning, they clearly explained the Law, so that the people will understand. Then the people went “to make great rejoicing.” Why? “Because they had understood the word that were declared to them.”

As a speaker, I don’t want to deprive the hearers of their joy! And that joy comes from an understanding of the Word. And that understanding of the Word is achieved through the faithful exposition of the Word.

That’s why I’m committed to expository preaching.

Since September of 2009, I’ve been doing my best to be expository in my messages, and I’m continually improving myself on it. And nowadays, I get invited to different groups, mostly consisting of youth and young adults. But wherever I go, I make sure I do a faithful exposition of the Word.

My Influences

I am a proud Christian Hedonist and a humble student of Reformed theology. So this inevitably shows in my messages, especially nowadays.

The speakers who influenced me at first were Louie Giglio and Francis Chan. When I started speaking, some people would say that I copy the style of Giglio. I agree with them, since in 2008, Giglio and the Passion team went here in Manila, and that event made an impact on me.

While Giglio and Chan still remains influential to me, John Piper and John MacArthur, who are undeniably great expository preachers of our day, became the dominant influences in my preaching. I get to watch or read many of their sermons, and even read their books.

Other influences include Albert Mohler, R.C. Sproul, and other Reformed preachers.

Again, before I became a blogger, I was a speaker. And I will continue giving my life preaching God’s Word. For indeed, it is more “more precious than gold, than much pure gold; they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb” (Psalm 19:10, NIV1984).

Photo by Zeus Martinez

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About Enzo Cortes

Enzo Cortes is the Youth Coordinator of Jzone Makati, the youth ministry of Christ's Commission Fellowship (CCF) Makati. He also speaks for various youth and young adult groups, including CCF Makati's young singles ministry, Friday Night Light. He loves to write, read books and blogs, drink coffee, and watch MMA fights.

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