I am a huge American Idol fan. The show just finished for this Tuesday evening. Nine contestants remain in the hunt to be the prized winner in this singing competition. Tonight's round revealed something which separates the strong from the weak: passion. All are singers to be credited for having made it in the competition this far. However, few have a seemingly deep passion for what they are singing.
I see the same with preachers. Preachers are preachers. We deliver sermons. But there is a difference as to what carries meaning and what doesn't. Often it's passion. Andy Stanley wrote in "Communicating For A Change" that as speakers we must have a burden. I think when we have a burden passion follows.
What is the passion? I once believed more volume equalled more passion. It doesn't. It equals simply more volume. Possessing a burden for wanting the hearers to take in the functionality and the activity of God brings us passion. Our hearers cannot go through life without knowing this kingdom essential.
Outlines are a dime a dozen. W. E. Vines may wrestle with a word and a lexicon will offer its derivative. But hearts burdened with the hope found in Christ move our members closer to intimacy with the Christ. Preaching isn't about notes. It's about being sold ourselves on the good news we've heard before we step up to share it with the church.
If I haven't learned something thrilling by 10:30 Sunday morning...every week...I have nothing to say to those sitting in front of me. The exciting thing to me is the Word has proven exhaustless and I learn and learn. I must tell the people what I discovered about God during the week...and the next. This fills me with intense passion....for I want them to know this stuff and I think it is genuinely Good News!