My original title was too long for the space, and the new one may be more accurate anyway; at least it's more inclusive. But some things that are often said from a pulpit or podium by preachers or conference speakers do extend to some of our common conversations. For me, one would be times one is about to preach about hell, and prefaces it with a facsimile of "I would rather talk about any other subject than what I am going to talk about here." I just don't buy that. Are they getting at the 'ESP with God' concept, as I refer to it, and claiming they're forced to talk about the subject against their will? This also has a corollary which usually accompanies it, which is something about "scaring you into getting saved." Of course they say 'no one ever gets scared into salvation.' But there can't be any other reason for an emotional and pressured appeal about the one way to avoid spending an eternity in torment-- if there is, then why not preach something that may bring a person to salvation, instead of something that can't? I'm not saying it's wrong to preach on or about the subject, but to be honest about the wish to, and reason for, doing so. "I'm excited about what our church is doing!" It seems like it's well into the hundreds, the times I've heard that. If it's true, then I think "excited" has virtually lost any real meaning, as often as we hear it. I remember saying it myself the 2nd or 3rd time I ever preached in church, and I really thought I meant it. But I've known for a long time that I said it because I thought it was just the right thing to say. In some ways, church is not so unlike secular business meetings or extended family reunions where we hear similar things. "This is a wonderful church to be a part of!" Yeah, another one like the above paragraph. It's equivalent is inserting adjectives like "great" or descriptions like "an unusual spirit" into any message, newsletter, even into a vocal prayer. In truth, do we really think that highly of our own church, or subgroup thereof? Possibly, but chances are that is said by some who think it's basically fair or average. So what is this? team spirit and cheerleading? In many cases, it is, I think. In any event, if you have a big-name evangelist, for example, who comes to speak and says otherwise-- as a church I was in once had-- saying your mission efforts sound more like vain afternoon tea meetings, then the talk will become about how we "never want hm back again." Pastors, of course, frequently flatter their churches because it's in their job interest. One more for now... "I covet your prayers." You do, huh? Well, perhaps covetousness is anther O.T. commandment that is redefined in the N.T., so we can covet prayers, even though originally that commandment was to not cover anything that 'belongs' to someone else. But why is this request termed such a way? "Covet" is a word seldom heard outside a church/religious context in modern times, like 'congregation' and 'testimony.' It rather seems as if the one who says that is acknowledging we can stick covetousness "in your face" as long as it's about prayer. If you've said that recently, please tell why that was your choice of words.