On Preaching About What You Should Be Preaching

In the past two weekends, I have heard preachers talk about the way God has moved people through messages they have spoken in the past. With great joy, they disclose the topic they had presented, the way their message was timely, and how it effected those who heard it. By the time they finished speaking, I was wishing I had been there for one of the sermons they talked about preaching in the past. 

I believed they preached the outstanding sermons they said they did. I believed that God did the things they said He did. I wondered why they did not bring the same thing to me. Why did they leave behind that great thing God had done through them and feel content to use it only as a reference for their ministry?

There is power in sharing a testimony like they did. When I hear stories of what God has done in other places, I expect Him to do the same things right here. But if a man has a gift from God to share with others, he must share it! 

The value of giving and sharing is in the action, not in its recollection. To simply speak of how one has given in the past is to border dangerously on self promotion. To avoid this trap, the one who has a gift to share, must always be obsessed with the One who ultimately gives the gift. If He is in that place of wonder and joy at receiving the gift from God to share with others, it will infuse his message with power.

As a speaker, my job is to communicate truth with joy, not talk about communicating truth with joy to people in other places. If I want to be a successful speaker, I will remember this: my job is to be so lost in the mystery of Jesus, of love, of grace…that my words drip with desire. I will speak from a place that people want to be. The words that I speak may answer questions, they may ask questions, they may be coherent or disconnected, but they will always be one thing: desire. They will be like a siren call to those who hear what they do not know. Irresistible, untranslatable, dangerous, and pure. They will be a call to die in order to find life. 

But the call is never to die. It is a call to find life. It is the hunger for life that only grows when it is fed. It is the reason why. It is the source of passion. It is the fire that burns without ever being satisfied. It is the infinite mystery of knowing the Father and living every moment in the love of Jesus.

My words will be beautiful because of their subject. My reputation will not come from what I have done, but from my ability to lead people to the One who can do things beyond human imagination. My message will be a light shining in the darkness that illuminates the choice set before every person. My voice will carry hope to those who listen and love to those who choose to respond in faith. 

And if you choose, so will yours!

  • Every poet and musician and artist, but for Grace, is drawn away from love of the thing he tells to love of the telling till, down in Deep Hell, they cannot be interested in God at all but only in what they say about Him. For it doesn’t stop at being interested in paint, you know. They sink lower – become interested in their own personalities and then in nothing but their own reputations. – C.S. Lewis “The Great Divorce” p.8