Well, I haven't blogged through the sermon prep process this week. But, it's Sunday morning, so I thought I'd share these thoughts:
1. Public speaking scares the heebie-jeebies out of me. There's really no two ways about it. If you gave me an option, I would personally choose to sit in a room somewhere with my books and a nice fast computer, and blog, write, study, and come out to cook for people every couple of days. Throw in a nice coffee maker, I'd be set. When I'm not in front of crowds, I'm very happy.
2. Public speaking also is one of the most exhilirating I've ever done. Some people ride roller coasters because they like the scared/exhilirated feeling. Not me. Put me in front of a crowd with a topic to cover. Give me an hour to prep, a reasonable cup of coffee, and I'm ready to rock.
3. Preaching is not the same as normal public speaking. This is not simply about communicating a topic or getting over crowd fear. Now, the aspects of oral communication, the rhetorical skills, are nigh unto essential for a preacher. Don't think so? Reread 1 Timothy 3:2. What do you think 'able to teach means'? It's someone who has developed the skills to present information coherently and persuasively.
-->Note: Timothy and the other potential preachers of the NT had access to training in these areas. This is before widespread persecution. Don't think I'd advocate that house church leaders in North Korea or Iran were inept since they don't have education that they can't access. But for those who have the opportunity to learn to be better preachers, either in the classroom or by practice or by apprenticeship, and don't take those opportunities, that's not right.
Now, the biggest difference is that a public speaker has to present material he has a platform to deliver. For example, you wouldn't have me give a speech about athletics. I'm not qualified. Want me to talk about marching band? You're getting closer.
A preacher, on the other hand, is presenting material that no one is truly qualified to present. Preaching is about communicating the truth of a Holy God, that no one measures up to. Therefore, it requires the power of God. The Holy Spirit in the preacher and present in the message, the power of the Word of God that is being preached is what makes a sermon what it is. This is life-transforming truth here. No human being alone can present it.
That being said:
4. Preaching is an utterly terrifying experience. You are responsible for presenting God's truth in an appropriate manner, are responsible to be the vessel through which the Holy God makes Himself known.
Fortunately, God is present in the situation, and is capable of working through imperfect vessels. Never forget that you are an imperfect vessel, if you're preaching. Never forget your preacher is an imperfect vessel, if you're listening.
But never let sermons be about the preacher anyway. They're about God, God's Word, and the work of the Spirit in our lives.
The occasional thoughts of an ordinary man serving an extraordinary God. Come with me as we learn, teach, and laugh along the way.
Sunday, March 22, 2009
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