Sunday, March 01, 2009

Step six:
  • deliver the sermon
  • There's not much I can say about preaching a sermon that wasn't said better by James Miller's A Little Book for Preachers: 101 Ideas for Better Sermons. Suffice it to say that I always find it helpful to make sure I:
    • eat a good breakfast.
    • review my sermon before I go to church.
    • have a glass of warm water there on the pulpit.
    • check my notes before I preach to make sure they're all there and all in order.
    That should do it, right?

    Unfortunately, none of this ever seems to be enough -- in fact, nearly every sermon I've ever preached has left me feeling like a failure.

    Simple physiology accounts for some of this. It takes a lot of andrenalin to preach . . . and the emotional "crash" that follows a sermon is familiar to any performer.

    And some of this is psychological, stemming from the same perfectionism that drives much of my preparation.

    But there's also the sense that I could have preached so much better and said so much more . . . a sense that is rooted in the simple truth that my sermons always fall short of what God could have said through the text.

    It's times like this I take comfort in the story of the widow who gave two mites to the Temple's building project. Just like her, I don't have much to offer -- but I still need to give it.

    When I "deliver" a sermon, in other words, I give it to God.

    The rest is up to Him.

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