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Letting the Listeners Make the Discoveries

Scripture can speak for itself

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Whenever I stand before a congregation, I have to suppress my natural instinct to preach. We preachers have a tendency—some innate drive—to offer answers to our listeners before they've even heard the questions. We want to help, but sometimes we forget the process required.

No wonder preaching has gotten a bad name. "Don't preach at me!" a teenager shouts at his parents. "I don't need your sermon," a wife says to her husband. And we know exactly what they mean. People resist answers others have found for them. Now-I'm-going-to-fix-you sermons make my congregation's eyes glaze over. When I pontificate, they cannot contemplate.

J. B. Phillips, while translating the New Testament, discovered its truth to be pulsing with life and power. He felt like an electrician, he said,' working with wiring while the power was still on. This was no dull routine, grappling with the dynamic, living Word! Phillips felt the awesomeness—both the dread and the excitement—of the electric ...

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