He is Soooooooo Different Than This!
As we have stated before, the goal of understanding and implementing various rhetorical techniques is . . . .
- to give clarity to a truth, concept, principle, point
- to add variety to your content (which will begin to fall into predictable patterns as your audience listens to you over an extended period of time)
- to gain and/or re-gain audience attention
- to direct the focus of thinking
- to introduce some movement & change
- to add some different stylistic colors
- to add emphasis
- to make application
- to alter the organization or flow
- to change-up the flow of thought
- to “write” the Big Idea in bold print
As you teach and preach, over a thirty to forty minute period of time, you can help your audience listen, as well as grab hold of the point or points you are making from the passage. Half the battle of impact is attention!* You are making a significant mistake if you do not understand how easily an audience can be distracted and pulled away from what you are saying. After a distraction, it will take some of your time to get them “re-following” you.*
Infinite vs. Finite Parallels:
Another potential way to excite your thinking about a passage or generate content is to parallel the infinite God with the finite. No matter what passage you are working on, it may be helpful in clarifying, illustrating, driving an idea, or amplifying a point or idea by drawing that parallel. It is both “how different God is” and “how finite we are” which can help drive or clarify a point or truth.
Ways To Generate The Parallels:
As you are thinking about what is happening, being said, taking place within the passage you are working on, mentally run through these kinds of statements . . . .
- People do, but God doesn’t . . . .
- Do you see how different He is? With us it is . . . . But with Him it’s . . . . That’s why He is God and not us and out thinking . . . .
- How is that so unlike God?
- What would God have done, had He wanted to?
- How God does not struggle with ______.
- If I were God, having all His powers / knowledge / resources / understanding / wisdom / foresight, I would have _____.
- Men’s limitations: You see men are stuck with doing ______ or ______. But not the Lord.
- Men need plan “B” and “C” and maybe even “Z” – but God has only one plan.
- That’s not the thinking of men, but it is God’s thinking.
- That’s the thinking of God, even when men have no such thoughts.
- If you’re thinking that way it is because you are not thinking like the Lord.
- This is how — Here is how the Lord thinks / acts / reacts / responds . . .
Jeff Foxworthy is the speaker, and he is being interviewed at Northpoint on a Sunday morning by Andy Stanley. Foxworthy uses this rhetorical technique.
Remember, a speaker does not need to know and understand the technique to be able to use it. Whether or not Foxworthy is doing this consciously or not, he apparently sees the value in making a point in this manner. Whatever caused Jeff Foxworthy to use it, it effectively clarifies and/or drives the point he is making.
In using this technique, Jeff Foxworthy makes his point by making sure that the audience does not think with their flawed and/or limited categories of thought, but wants them to think about how God thinks.
I mean the whole story’s about that, and that’s who God is you can’t be bad enough to make him quit loving you, and you can’t be good enough to make him love you more
(28:40) — and – and at the cross God said — you’re not worth something — you’re worth everything — you’re worth everything to me — I’m gonna give up my perfect Son for you if you were the only person on the planet — I’m gonna do this for you I love you this much
and so in addiction – if you can ever get that hurt to heal — you can get restored and it doesn’t happen in every case but it happens over and over and over again down there
guys that weren’t the hopeless heroin addicts that are out there making a difference – you know – got their own place – got marriages – and so
we’re all damaged – every one of us is jacked up in some way – and I think the thing that just thrills God’s heart is to see broken things restored.
Because God doesn’t start something and go — “Awh that didn’t work out — I’m gonna give up on that.” He’s like – now if you’ll trust me I make this right.
[Then Andy Stanley asks another question and it goes another direction. I make this point because it highlights the point that Foxworthy’s adding of this last statement clarified and emphasized the point he was making.]Foxworthy: No, no – that’s not too awkward . . . .
— YouTube Link Jeff Foxworthy with Andy Stanley – “Just Say Yes”
Jeff Foxworthy did not need to make this last comment. He did not need to take the time to contrast or frame God as unlike the way we think or act. He could have ended it at “broken things restored.”
Nevertheless, he calls up how God does not so that they know and understand that He is not like us because it drives the point he is making about how God’s heart is to see things RESTORED.
Again, it is not that teachers and preachers do not do this in their speaking and preaching, but as we are aware of what is being done, we can consciously and purposefully clarify, punch, or develop an idea.
In The Negative Or The Positive:
Notice that a speaker can do this in the negative or the positive. You can see that in the suggested sentences and/or phrases listed above . . . .
- The Lord does it this way ______ — That is not a way we think of with our limited resources. We step in before it gets worse and worse. We try to limit the damage which is happening – to limit how deep it is sinking into the mud.
- The Lord does not ______ — He does not do this because He has far greater wisdom, timing, and/or resources at His disposal than we even can imagine. So He does not step in immediately, but God lets the situation get even more precarious (as we would think of it).
Another twist to this technique is to think using this kind of phrase. . . .
“The Lord God is ______ and you really don’t want a God who is not that. You really don’t want a God who says / thinks / responds / reacts / etc.”
“He doesn’t work that way. God doesn’t do things like that and you will be disappointed if that is what you are looking for Him to do.”
Extra: You might want to also take note of the statement . . . .
“at the cross God said — you’re not worth something — you’re worth everything”
. . . . which exemplifies the rhetorical technique we discussed in “One Word Away.”
*Problems with the sound system and confusing PP visuals (by AV amateurs who think they are doing a good job but are only distracting from the message) may be one of the most ubiquitous problems in many a church — been there too often!