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How to avoid talking in someone else's sleep

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Gerald Griffith, a pastor and Bible teacher in Toronto and my good friend, one day said to me, "Every week God gives me bread for his people."

I looked him straight in the eye and replied, "That's true, but you spend a lot of time in the kitchen!" He had to agree. Those hours "in the kitchen" are among the most important of my week. Why? Because in the kitchen I prepare what God gives me to feed his people. And they can be picky eaters.

People are distracted by all kinds of things—legitimate things, for the most part, but sometimes not. Pain fills a lot of hearts. People are unhappy at work. Or their homes are less than ideal. Or they feel great economic stress. Or they strain under the demands of a job. When troubled people come to church, their thoughts suppress the appetite for God's menu. My job as a preacher is to overwhelm the careworn with the aroma of the gospel.

So when I preach, I'm continually thinking. How am I going to hold and use the attention so tenuously lent me? I ...

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Kevin Merritt

May 17, 2014  12:34pm

Excellent and thoughtful words by Stuart Briscoe. He spoke at Gordon-Conwell when I studied there, and of the many messages I heard at seminary that have since evaporaated from my mind, his message still resonates with me some 9 years later.

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Steve Newton

August 12, 2007  9:57pm

This is a useful article. I write as a seminary student who is now on his vicarage (a one year internship under the supervisor of an ordained pastor). The article does a good job of describing how to preach to the whole person - mind, emotion, and will. This topic was covered often in my seminary classes but this article, while not paving new ground, provided a good review. The section on preaching to the mind is particularly useful to me. Today's emphasis on preaching to post-moderns underempasizes this aspect of preaching, so this part of the article helps to fill a deficiency in my understanding of how to preach to the whole person.

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