Catch Me if you Can
by Dennis Bazzell
(Fenton, MO. USA)
Acts 6 verses 1-15
"This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us".
Stephen is not denying the charges.
He is explaining why he’s guilty!
But he refuses to say, "Guilty as charged your Honor."
He's teaching them a new game, it's called,
"Catch Me If You Can"
Stephen’s my kind of preacher.
He has no overhead projector
He never announces his subject.
He forgets to tell his story or joke
to get the people’s attention,
and if that’s not bad enough
where’s his three points?
He preaches as if he expects his congregation
knows something about the Bible.
How presumptuous of him! Such audacity!!!
I’m telling you this guy takes a lot for granted.
I think Stephen enjoyed preaching.
After all that’s what got him in trouble in the first place.
I must admit for years I didn’t understand how
Stephen’s message applied to the charges,
But what I didn’t realize was, Stephen doesn’t care,
It's his time at bat. He expects me to play
"Catch Me If You Can"
When I was about 5 my two older brothers
Came to my room and ask if I wanted to play baseball.
I didn’t know how to play baseball.
That didn’t matter, I would be one of the big guys.
They played in the alley behind our house in
St. Louis MO on Russell about three blocks from Shaw’s Garden.
My job was to chase down the ball
if it got buy everyone else and bring it back.
I loved it! I didn’t get to bat
but I didn’t care I was one of the guys.
I don’t remember exactly when
but somewhere along the line
I caught on... I figured out I was supposed
To get an at bat
If Stephen was like a lot of us,
he normally was very careful whith his delivery.
He tried not to preach over anyone's head.
He knew telling a Joke or an interesting story at
the behinning would get their attention.
Then he might have an illustration to bring out his point.
His eye is on the clock.
But not this morning! Stephen knows he's guilty.
He knows what the verdict will be. He may be preaching
his final message so he's throwing out the rules.
It's Stephen's time at bat!!!
"He recalls that Samuel told Saul," When the Holy Spirit
is come upon you, do as the occasion serves." This time it's
The congregation's job to understand. Stephen is going to do
as the occasion serves and it's the listeners job to
"Catch Me If You Can!"
I know from reading, "Lectures to my Students"
Charles Haddon Spurgeon believed it was my
Job to hold the congregation's attention;
making sure they know what I'm talking about.
And I am not trying to shirk that responsibility.
But I would much rather
play Stephen’s game.
"Catch Me If You Can"
Most preachers have experienced it.
You’ve been studying all week.
You have a love for the scriptures.
Sunday morning rolls around,
The Son is shining brightly
And you feel like preaching!
And you think I’m going
To enjoy myself today.
I am not going to worry
If my face is transfigured.
I am not going to worry if the people
don’t know anything about the talking donkey.
I'm going to preach the word and enjoy doing it... so
"Catch Me IF You Can"
I normally find people, especially guys,
Like a little challenge in what they do.
After all, we have to be the strongest, smartest and best at
everything we do.
If there’s no challenge how can we do that?
Why doesn't it work that way with scripture?
Why don't men say, "Hey you ain't spoon feeding me.
If I don't know it I'll figure it out."
Where is that comraderie among of men and women who love
Word of God and, "Speak of it Often." I found it to be a
Doesn't it bother anyone that most church people are
They charged Stephen with saying this Jesus fella,
Would tear down the temple
And change the times and customs.
That’s probably a hint. And he ends with,
“Ye uncircumcised in ears and in hearts
Even now you resist the Holy Spirit
Even as your fathers did so do you.”
Warning!! If that's the thesis of a message,
It's probably not a good time to go to your pastor and say,
"I couldn't make heads or tails
out of what you said today"
He might say, "I won!"
We were playing, "Catch Me if You Can,"
Or he might preach you a message you can understand.
They got the message but they lost the game."
"You talk about your sore losers."
It made them so angry that they killed him
His face was transfigured like that of an angel and
they stoned him anyway! Anger will do that to you.
You get good and mad and common sense goes out the door.
Think about Balaam, his donkey started talking to him.
That didn't slow him down a bit. He's mad!!!
And he going to tell his donkey why!
He didn't play, "Catch me If you can," very well.
"Stephen didn't get the normal "good message preacher"
As they went out the door. His only consolation was
from God, through the prophet Isaiah, "Whether they hear
or whether they forebear they will know that there has been
a prophet among them."
Just as Aarons old dead walking stick budded
There was life in the words Stephen spoke that day
Unfortunately, his hearers received it as a savour of
"Death unto death."
I'm sure Stephen is sitting in the arena with the
other members of the, Hall of Faith, cheering us on.
Why do I think that? Because he looked to Heaven and said
Lay not this sin to their charge."