The Surprise of Preaching

I got a really nice note yesterday from a person in our church who made some neat life choices as a result of something God did through the sermon on Sunday.

I don't know why, but those kinds of responses always surprise me. I'm not surprised that God blesses the teaching of His Word; He always does that. I'm just amazed at how He arranges it.

My experience is that the sermons I feel the worst about are the sermons He tends to use the most.

For me, sermons are personal long before they're public. I work hard on the front end, always asking the question "How does this connect with my life." Because if I'm not working to live it, I can't preach it. You can't lead to a place you're not willing to go.

As a result, I often walk up on the stage Sunday morning feeling as though I don't have much original to say. Sometimes that's the truth but more often it's just a function of the fact that I've been living with a sermon for long enough it has lost its freshness with me. And because it doesn't feel new to me, I wonder how much what I say is going to connect with people.

What I find is, the sermons that connect the best are the ones I've lived with the longest, although those sermons almost never feel great to me on the Saturday night before I preach.


Jay Felker said...

So true. I preached earlier this summer for J.B. and really felt it didn't come off the way I wanted it to. Come to find out a girl was dealing with that particular issue and it made a tremendous impact in her life. You just never know who needs to hear from that passage each week...