Podcast Episode 11 | 12 min
Applying Your Message
The goal of application: transformation not more information.
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Matt Woodley: This is Matt Woodley, editor of PreachingToday.com on Monday Morning Preacher. I’m here with our guest host, Kevin Miller.
Kevin Miller: Great to be with you, Matt.
MW: So Kevin, I've been preaching regularly for about 25 years now. Rough estimate, I've probably preached nearly 1,500 sermons so far in my career.
KM: Wow, that's a lot.
MW: Well, I've learned a few things. I've definitely discovered some of my strengths and weaknesses as a preacher and it's given me some time to think about and work on my weaknesses.
KM: Such as?
MW: Well, let's dive into some of my biggest weaknesses, why don't we?
Michael Scott: Guess what, I have flaws. What are they? Oh, I don't know. I sing in the shower. Sometimes I spend too much time volunteering. Occasionally I'll hit somebody with my car. So sue me. No, don't sue me. That's the opposite of the point.
KM: Okay, so our guest preacher today is Michael Scott from The Office.
MW: You know, I might get him as my guest host so you better watch out. He might have some good things to say. But seriously, over the years there's one area of weakness that I've struggled with that I've been working on really hard over the last two or three years, and I think I'm making some progress. And I don't think I'm alone in this, and it's the whole area of application, applying the sermon. And after coaching a lot of preachers I think it's a struggle for a lot of preachers.
KM: Well, yeah. I think because if you want to preach it's because you love the Book, you love studying the Bible and doing the exegesis work, and then if you start preaching you very quickly learn if I don't capture people's attention right away I'm in trouble, so you work on the hook, you work on the intro's and you kind of craft those. But I think both in terms of training, you don’t get a lot of training in application, and in preparing a sermon most preachers are not giving as much time to the application.
MW: That's why we need good models of preachers who know how to do application very well.
KM: Yeah, so who do we have today?
MW: Well, today we've got a master preacher, John Ortberg, who gave a sermon called "The Fourth Man in the Furnace," based on the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Now, it's probably a 35-45 minute sermon but the last 10-11 minutes are pretty much application. He talks about facing furnaces in your life and then he keeps repeating this phrase over and over again: "God will meet you in your furnace, God will meet you in your furnace." So it's very beautifully done. And then we pick up at the very end of this sermon here.
John Ortberg: What Jesus basically said to people was, “Follow me and you're going to have a great big God and outrageous joy and you're going to be in trouble all the time.” And they followed him, and they followed him. By the hundreds and by the thousands and by the tens of thousands, they followed the same path that he walked on. They followed him through servanthood, they followed him through sacrificial generosity, they followed him through community, they followed him to suffering, they followed him to persecution, they followed him to death.
John Ortberg is pastor of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, California.