Preaching

preachingi’ve read a bunch of books on preaching.   i’ve watched videos of well-known preachers.  i’ve listened to audios of hundreds.  when i was younger, i even subscribed to a couple of preacher’s cassette (remember those?) lending libraries.

i used to attend conferences that were headlined by influential preachers…and sat through hours of presentations.  i even took notes.

i’ve had undergraduate and graduate level courses on expository preaching and homiletics.  my master’s degree is in preaching and church growth…not youth ministry or advanced funology.

i’ve studied the history of preaching…and preaching theory.   i’ve studied preaching models.  i understand how to exegete a text and do word studies in greek and hebrew.  i’ve studied about argument and persuasion and presentation and application.  i know the different components of a sermon

i’ve watched tapes of myself preaching (yuck).  i’ve heard recordings of my preaching.  i’ve had my preaching evaluated by people i respect and received the unsolicited critique of those i probably wouldn’t seek out.  in just the last 14 years, i bet i’ve written and preached over 600 sermons.  some would say it’s the most important thing i do…the most important thing anybody could ever do.

i grew up in a church where the preacher was incredibly smart and liked to show it off in his preaching.  he used huge words and referred to “the greek” constantly, told historical illustrations in lengthy detail and had a passionate quiver in his voice at the end of every sermon as he beckoned people to come to the front of our church building to accept jesus as their personal savior or to repent of their sins or to join our church.

and the same 80-100 people had that experience every sunday.

i didn’t know what i wanted to do with my life as a kid, but i was quite sure preaching was not it.

ahh…the shouts of cosmic irony are deafening.

there is no doubt i am a reluctant preacher.  i am constantly humbled by the sobriety and importance of proclaiming the good news of the kingdom.  i am often the one “most overwhelmed” by the message i preach…not because it was so good, but because it was so true.

i know my oratorical skills are pretty pedestrian.  some of that is because i was probably goofing around in line when the spiritual gifts were being given out.  but some of that is by design, too.   years ago, i made the decision i would prepare every sermon for the mind and attention span of a ninth-grade boy.  talk about “broad-casting”!

but the good news isn’t so good, if you can’t understand it.

it is an honor to proclaim the truth of jesus each week to my church family.  i’m grateful you don’t expect perfection.  i’m humbled that you listen and respond.  i am constantly encouraged that you are willing to let me express my doubts and wrestle publicly with those areas of scripture for which i don’t have a perfect answer.   i love it that you understand i am on the same journey as you.

it is comforting to know that you do not see me as the “holy man” or the “answer man” or the guy on the pedestal.   thanks.

for the record, if i were to evaluate my own sermons and rank them in order of most important…yesterday’s would definitely be in the top two or three of my whole life.  no kidding.  so if you missed it, you can check it out on the NP website later in the week…or better yet, how about lunch and i can preach it to you personally?

or not.

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2 thoughts on “Preaching

  1. I love this post, especially the part about the good news only being good if you can understand it. While I get the theory on understanding dead languages and all of that, most people listening to sermons have no idea about any of that for the most part.

    It’s cool that you actually care about getting a message to your people that they can understand and use in their life.

    -Peter from the Bridge

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