All in Preaching

Clarity Is King.

Most the preachers I know work very hard at the craft God has called them to. They labor hour after hour, week after week, in order to faithfully feed the people God has entrusted to them.

This means...

They work hard to humbly exegete each text. 

They dispense an immense amount of effort into every word.

They carefully craft nearly every sentence. 

They give much thought to the illustrations they use. 

They want the gospel to be front and center every time they climb into the pulpit. 

Despite the hard work, there is one common shortcoming I see in a lot of preaching, including my own. It's a shortcoming that I believe separates the sub-par sermons from the good ones. 

Sweat Your Sermon Intro

The first pastor who really taught me about preaching once told me, “If you open strong, close strong, and hit your transitions, your sermon will take care of itself.” While it’s a bit more complicated than that, he was largely correct. Many sermons fall apart before they even start, crash and burn because of an inability to “land the plane”, or lack clarity due to confusion in transition.

 

While I hope to write on each of these sermon elements, I want to start with the importance of a strong sermon introduction. So what makes for an effective sermon illustration? In a sentence:

5 Prayer Requests For Those Listening To Preaching

Preachers aren’t the only people who need to pray prior to the preaching of God’s word. Every Christian should spend time in prayer before sitting under a sermon. If your pastor is a faithful Bible teacher then each week you have the opportunity to hear God speak in a heart-altering, life-changing manner. This should be taken seriously and prepared for properly. 

If you want the most out of the next sermon you listen to, here are five prayer requests for those listening to preaching:

5 Prayer Requests For Preachers

Prayer is the most effective and often neglected tool in the preparation of a sermon. It should go without saying (though sadly it cannot), that the preparation of a sermon requires meditating on the text, reading commentary, studying cultural background, and the hard work of illustrating and applying God’s word in a way that’s helpful. 

However, no amount of study will make up for a lack of supplication. Ingenuity won’t cover up the obvious absence of intercession for the church body. Rhetorical power is a sorry substitute for prayer-soaked proclamation. 

The preacher preps the sermon, but prayer preps the preacher. 

People should have a sense that their preacher has been much with God and prayer is an indispensable means of doing just that. But what should we as preachers be praying for? Here are 5 prayer requests for preachers:

11 Issues Impacting Your Preaching

When I first started preaching, I had one and only one thought on Sunday mornings: 

"Don't forget what you want to say."

I walked around like I was carrying a cup of coffee that was just a little too full, afraid if someone bumped me, my sermon may spill out of my mind and onto the floor. I'm more relaxed now, yet still aware of how difficult preaching well truly is.

There are so many ways a sermon can go wrong. I know God's Word never returns void and I'm thankful that the caliber of God's work isn't determined by the quality of my preaching. Personally, I just never want that to be an excuse for phoning in a crappy sermon. 

The longer I preach, the more aware I am of just how many issues impact my preaching. I can study, pray, and prepare hard and still crash and burn on Sunday - I know because I've done it. Preparation is paramount, but there are other factors in play. 

Here are 11 issues that impact the preacher in no particular order...

7 Ways To Refresh Your Preaching.

It's Saturday night, which means you're slumped over your sermon notes when it finally sets in. 

No, you're not hiding any sin, or walking through suffering. You're not spiritually dry, or nearing burnout. You simply can't remember the last time you had a Sunday off from preaching. As a result, you feel like you're saying the same thing the same way week after week.

Your illustrations are tired. Your jokes are dry. Your applications are about as helpful as a swimsuit in a snowstorm. Your preaching has gone stale.

But you know what? It happens. It happens to every faithful herald who fills a pulpit week in and week out. Each Sunday as I drive home from church I experience the collision of two emotions simultaneously: 

Your illustrations are tired. Your jokes are dry. Your applications are about as helpful as a swimsuit in a snowstorm. Your preaching has gone stale.

But you know what? It happens. It happens to every faithful herald who fills a pulpit week in and week out. Each Sunday as I drive home from church I experience the collision of two emotions simultaneously: 

The satisfaction that I’ve preached another sermon and the stress of having to do it all over again the next week.

7 Ways For Good Pastors To Be Great Dads

God’s primary proving ground for a pastor is not his work in the pulpit, but his home. This means that a man qualifies and disqualifies himself in the home before he ever does in the church. No amount of ministry fruitfulness will justify our failure to love and lead the families God has given us. 

Yes, pastoral ministry comes with a unique brand of difficulty. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the results are often unseen. But, we cannot let this serve as an excuse for being lousy dads. We can do better. We have a heavenly Father who willingly sacrificed His own Son, so that through faith, we could be saved and faithfully father our own sons and daughters.  By God’s grace and through the Spirit’s strength, here are seven ways for good pastors to be great dads… 

The Preacher's Mightiest Weapon

As a preacher, I'm regularly asked how long it takes me to write a sermon. My go-to answer is, "It depends on how much I've prayed." I see a direct correlation between the quality of my preparation/preaching and the quality of my praying. 

For many pastors, myself included, prayer can be the easiest aspect of sermon prep to skip. This, however, is a grave error. The preacher preps the sermon, but prayer preps the preacher. Prayer is what prepares our hearts to proclaim God's Word. Prayer is what gives preaching power in the pulpit.

 

Your Sermons Are Too Long

Some sermons are simply too long. There are a very few preachers in this world who can preach for more than 40 minutes without losing every listener in the room. If you read my blog, my hunch is, you’re not one of those preachers. 

Sadly, in certain tribes, like the one I’m a part of, lengthy sermons are often looked at with admiration. I’ve heard pastors brag about preaching for over an hour expecting a high-five, or some sort of spiritual chest bump, but all I keep thinking is, “I get bored talking to you after 30 minutes, I can’t imagine listening to you preach for an hour!” 

Defining God's Revealed Will

Big Idea: God's Will is that we live God's way as revealed in God's Word.

(To listen to the full sermon audio, click here.)

Many Christians have been taught that God’s will is individual and specific, like a bull’s eye that we are to aim for. According to this traditional view, if we can just discover where the center of His will is and put ourselves there, we can be confident of God’s favor and trust that He is controlling every detail.

Some of us are happy with this way of looking at God’s will.

Comparison Kills

Big Idea: The gospel kills our pride and destroys our despair

Though it's common place in our lives, our constant comparison is killing us. NOTHING good comes from comparing ourselves to anyone else. Think about it. Comparison kills you because it inevitably leads to one of two places: