Zeal for the Lord

Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries2 Minutes

Philip William Otterbein was on fire for the Lord. In fact, he was so intense in his faith that some found him offensive.

Born into a Christian home on this day in 1726 in what is today Germany, he was ordained in 1749. But, three years later, facing resistance, he responded to the call for ministries in America. He welcomed the opportunity, seeking a fresh start.

Even in his new homeland, he remained bold and zealous for the Gospel, fearlessly challenging his listeners to consider the condition of their souls. To repent of sin. To turn to God.

Feeling the burden to reach more people for Christ, he gained important insights into evangelism when he encountered the ministry of Francis Asbury. Incorporating what he had learned, he experienced new levels of breakthrough. But, just as he had found in Europe, some resisted his ministry.

Yet he remained zealous for the Lord. In the pulpit, he preached with such fire that listeners were known to weep, as they became convicted by their sins. He continually sought to rely on the Holy Spirit for his words. In one of his last sermons, he was so weak that he had difficulty speaking, and cried aloud, “O Lord, help me this one more time to preach your word.” Immediately he could speak with ease and finished the message. He died soon after, in 1813.

Asbury, the man from whom he learned so much, marveled at Otterbein’s zeal for the things of God. He observed how he sought “to be known only of God and the people of God.”

Today, God looks for people with this same kind of zeal and commitment to evangelism. Ask Him to ignite you with the fire of the Holy Spirit, and give you a compassion for Souls.