Friday, April 04, 2008


Got to do a sermon Sunday? Or, a class? Or both? Struggling with what to say?

In my early days I found my mattress and springs to serve as a rack of torture every Saturday night. I would think and think of what to say. Nothing would show up. Why? I was all out of illustrations. I needed another story. I needed another experience. I needed another good joke.....anything to fill up the time! I hope this little note will help those who experience similar agony.

Remember God teaching us that His word is sharper than any two-edged sword? That it's alive? Very alive? If that is the case (and it is) then what we need, if we are looking for something sharp, is the Word. Now before that turns you off and seems of no value, patiently consider what I'm telling you.

The thing that WILL inspire your people is the thing God says WILL inspire your people. Whether we understand how that can be begs the question. God has what we want....inspiration. We think it's in the humor of Jeff Walling or the depth of Randy Harris or the experience of Paul Whitmire. Yet, what works in them is what works in God's people....His Word.

Open up the Word and place it in front of their hearts as a mirror in front of your face. That Living Word will dance with energy that we cannot estimate. It is active. It lives. Believe it. More, trust it.

Sunday morning, again, I will have about four to six notations on a piece of paper the size of a third of a dollar bill. It will have this on it:
  • I Pet. 4:8
  • I Cor. 13:5-8
  • Jas. 2:13
  • I Jn. 1:8-9

These are my actual notes for Sunday morning. Now, I didn't reach that level immediately. It took me about 20 to 25 years. Furthermore, it's not a law our notes have to be any certain way. I am saying that my confidence in God's Word has increased. It does what I wanted illustrations to do. I simply intend to let our people reflect on the sonshine of the Word. It will talk to them in ways I would never guess.

My point to you? Be confident. You don't need something interesting before you need complete confidence in the Word first. The Word is active. It's sharp as a tack. Your illustrations serve as good windows to peer into the heart of that Word. Preach away, my friend.


Anonymous said...

I've said it since I began preaching. We need to stop thinking that how we preach it makes it worth hearing, it's what we preach(God's Word) that is important!I have a more comfortable sermon for me when I preach more of His word using scripture. That way I am His messenger. Thanks for the encouragement Brother. Remember, YOU ARE LOVED! Eddie

Jimmy Mitchell said...

AMEN! Terry, you have helped me with my problem. I am still pretty young in the ministry and I always worry about what I will say. I just need to fully rely on God and His word. Thank you for helping me realize that it is the word that holds the power, not the vessel.

Jenna Bunner said...

What do you think about the degree to which preachers of the Word must be open about their own lives? I have been praying about speaking to our minister about this. He is a thinker -- a 3-point speaker and a private person -- and I long for him to talk about what God is teaching HIM personally. Is this something I need to get over?

Terry Rush said...


We preachers are fairly skiddish about our time behind the mic and in front of the crowds. I'd go easy on your man; but I do think he might be encouraged to know you (and maybe some others) would like to hear how God has worked/is working in his life. His humility mayk not have noticed some of those before him are wishing to know so that they, too, might be benefitted in their walk?

Get over it? No. There's nothing to get over. Patience and love from each toward the other greatly assists all of us while we strive to grow in the Incredible Spirit of God.


Terry Rush said...

Jimmy Mithchell,

I hear good things about your work! Keep it up!

I'm proud of you!