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Unction Junction

The Holy Spirit's power can't be forced, but it can be fanned into flame.

Early in my preaching ministry, there was an elderly saint who often led us in prayer during a service. Whatever else he might have prayed for, he never failed to conclude without asking God to grant me "unction from on high." I wasn't sure what unction was, but it sure sounded like something I needed.

Lee Eclov defines unction as "the anointing of the Holy Spirit on a sermon so that something holy and powerful is added to the message that no preacher can generate." While unction seems to defy analysis, we know it when we feel it. Certainly, God's Word never fails to accomplish the purpose for which it was given, even when it is proclaimed without obvious evidence of divine power. But when a message or messenger is anointed by God's Spirit, the fruit of that ministry of the Word is abundant, dramatic, and lasting.

Unction is what Paul experienced in his ministry at Thessalonica. He writes, "Our gospel came to you not only with words but also with power, ...

From Issue:Winter 2009: Rediscovered Roots
May/June
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