Sunday, November 09, 2008


I'm not sure that what I'm about to tell you is a rule; more like it is an opinion which I wonder if it would help some of you who speak of kingdom matters publicly. I remain fascinated with the task of preaching. The reason is not about me; but is about Him.

I'm noticing the more I stay out of the way in sermon organization and planning, it seems the more God shows up in the message. Don't get me wrong. I study everyday. I am a slow reader and it takes me longer to prepare than others.

However, I am seeing a trend that the fewer notes I take to the pulpit the more His Spirit seems to work with my spirit during the presentation. That sentence could come across very wrong and I don't mean it improperly. There does seem to be a matter of trust from me to Him. I have in my notes basically the verses I want to read. Of course I've searched them. Of course I've given them serious thought. But what is different is I don't write out precisely what I intend to say should God have new ideas I had yet to consider.

In every sermon something shows up in the delivery I had not yet pondered. I am enthused to hear what He is going to say....really. Ah, I'm fumbling terribly in trying to convey this. Sorry.

My point I want to make is it may be possible we obstruct the Spirit of God by mapping out precisely what we intend to say to the extent He can't get a word in edge-wise in His own sermons. I think He is more willing to speak through us if we will rid ourselves of carnal safety nets and move as partners in Spirit work.

Maybe we could go back to the days where He really does guide, guard, and direct! No, I don't think it illegal if we have notes. I do think it illegal if we try to preach the gospel of Jesus without the Spirit of Jesus. There. That's what I meant to say.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the challenge to let the Spirit truly guide a sermon. I truly want the Spirit to guide all of my sermons. And I definitely do not want to get in the way of His work. That is my prayer every Sunday as I prepare to preach. I only have one comment to add. I do believe that the Spirit can be just as involved in the sermon preparation, as he can in the sermon delivery. I believe the Spirit can give me just the right words to say, whether that happens during my sermon prep time or on Sunday during my delivery.

Either way, your main point is critical: do not stifle the Spirit's work!

Anonymous said...

i very much agree with this because when I've gone up with lots of notes, I get so bogged down in my notes that sometimes I get confused on where I'm going and I'm trying to remember what to say rather than what is being said or how it is said. so even though you didn't quite know how to say it, it makes sense to me. I'm trying to get to the point of having less of mine so that God can be more.

Anonymous said...

Amen and Amen! Though I do not preach, I am a very active class / life group teacher. It's been exactly the lessons that I felt least prepared, most disorganized, and indeed would throw myself at God in desperation to convey His precisely those lessons does it seem the Spirit worked most diligently, more people were touched, and even offered back the more profuse encouragement that every teacher appreciates.

The lessons I have felt to have gone badly, or at least not "according to plan", have been some of the deepest, most interactive lessons of all.

Perhaps you didn't know the words to convey your thoughts, but they were open and honest. And anyone hearing them openly and honestly knows exactly what you were trying to say. Yet another example of the Spirit at work.