Saturday, May 15, 2010


As we begin to fill the role of verbal communication, I imagine many sense the same call as your best to fill up the time.  Yes, we have adequate instruction in homiletics, hermeneutics, and volleyball.  Still, our main fear is we won't have enough stuff to fill up the time.

This battle for something to say creates bad habits because our most urgent mission is to hunt, as in Easter eggs, those quotes and ideas which will....fill up the time.  Due to such a self-salvaging process we forget a couple of significant items; God and the hearers.  Both desire to participate. 

Unintentionally the preaching/teaching process can drift from people hearing from God to all about us and our classy delivery.  Thus, the people and God suffer....and so do we.  In this age of elaborate media tools at our disposal, the threat is even greater.  God may be left out and the hearers dulled by endless chatter which basically says nothing other than we have given it our best shot to fill up the time.  Still?

So what do we do about it?  First, we simply realize this is going on.  I fervently struggled with this for my first couple of decades of preaching.  That's a long time to grapple; a very frustrating time.  Maybe now I can share a slight crack of hope upon our dilemma; the church's dilemma whenever this scenario would be a part of the teaching scene.

This isn't about how many notes we use.  It is about how much we listen for God in our preparation.  Our busyness and scramble for the Saturday night deadline can exempt God from participation.  We want to know root words, Hebrew and Greek identities, and check out what Barclay and Rick Warren have said.

An important question is, What is God saying now?  I can't wait for tomorrow's sermon.  Study?  Yes, every day I study.  I read God and I read authors.  I love it.  A difference now is I wait on God to participate in my preparation.  I listen for His input. 

This morning I was pondering Jesus' temptation to turn the stones into bread.  It occurred to me (that's all I know to describe God talking to me....He gives me His ideas for I don't possess them) that Jesus refused to turn stones into bread and yet as 5000 sat in need of food he turned bread into bread.  He turned a little bit into a lot (of which second graders know).  Yet, how it fits the sermon excites me.  My contagion will build contagion because God mixes in with the teacher/preacher as well as the hearers. 

From our presentations more than English words are heard.  Do you get that?  We hear heaven coming to earth and landing in the caverns of our very own eardrums.  Enormous and abundant translation takes place from the time our ears move the product of God's system from our ears to our lips.  By the time that split-second Word reaches a new set of eardrums (by our preaching and teaching) which causes ignition of their lips....the word multiplies.  Yet another set of ears hear the perpetuated and vibrant message which began by us listening for God.

And the Word of God kept on spreading; and the number of disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem.  The Word continues to spread as we intentionally leave room for God to participate in all of our learning procedures.

Where do we get the content for our classes and our sermons?  From the Living Word and from the Living God as both interact with all of our other preparatory processes.  Don't block Him out.  He causes the messages to live.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post today. Especially after I was listening to the podcast last week of your sermon. I felt like it was more about Terry's book and problems of me, my and I than on God. May I suggest you listen to your own sermon. Preachers should not use that many examples of self because it appears they are before the cross.

Tim Pyles said...

Great thoughts, Terry. Just an hour ago, I faced a dilemma about the content of tomorrow morning's sermon. The "plan" (mine) all week has been to move forward with the next lesson in a series on the life, faith, heart, failings and victories of David. But, upon reflection and prayer this morning, I realized that events this week in the lives of some of our members made it a most "inopportune" time for that particular message; greater, more pressing needs have arisen in the hearts of our church family, for which they need to hear a Word from the Lord, which I know He will amply supply. "My" plan has been put on hold (yet again!); just another reminder that my plans (regardless of how important, clever, and well-conceived I believe them to be) can never be placed above the immediate needs of God's kingdom and His people.

Terry Rush said...


Don't be discouraged. It's not unusual that I fail to hit what hearers really need.

We'll just keep working to get it right. He knows how....and I love trying!


Vasca said...

As I see it, blogs are personal comments on what is going on in a person's life...that particular person's thoughts...the writer's account of daily life, etc.

My blog is full of I's and me's...'cause I'm the one I use for an example and believe me, it's not always in a complimentary light...I am critical of myself more often than not.

I find nothing in your writing's that suggest an ego trip...

I suggest you continue writing as you do...please! My husband commented yesterday that your post was fresh and very needed.

Thanks for always being a fresh-aire! Transparency is wonderful.

Ken Sublett said...

Here was the "patternism" for the Church in the wilderness: it was inclusive of Rest, Reading and Rehearsing the Word. That is what a disciple does when they attend synagogue.

It was exclusive of vocal or instrumental rejoicing: that shuts down the learning process and is the "laded burden" of Jesus and the "self pleasure" outlawed by Paul.

Here was the patternism which made both Jew and Gentile Bible literate and ready for Christ. It was still endorsed by the council, commanded by all of the Bible and practiced until preaching and singing was an added ACT about the year 373 which sowed discord back then.

Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city
them that preach him,
being read in the synagogues
every sabbath day.

So, never run out of material for heaven's sake.