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The Spiritual Discipline of Sermon Prep

While we prepare a sermon God prepares the preacher.

The Spiritual Discipline of Sermon Prep

It was another Monday and I was staring at a blank screen again. I had just preached a message on God's goodness from James that was enthusiastically received, and now I had to crank out another sermon and I had no idea where to start. Throughout the week the pressure to just get the sermon done only intensified because, well, that's my job. People expect it. Of course God has also called me to preach. And this demand to crank out another sermon comes around with a regular and insistent predictability.

If we preach with any regularity and for any length of time, we know this experience all too well. We know the nagging pressure of producing a sermon worth preaching. We know the angst of working hard in studying, praying, outlining, hunting for illustrations, and manuscripting to produce a sermon worth preaching. That is why plagiarism and lifting material from a respected preacher to boost the quality of our own sermon is so attractive. That is also why we search for short cuts ...

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Displaying 1–6 of 6 comments

Glenn Hawkins

April 13, 2016  10:38am

Outstanding post, especially re: the emphasis on doing the hard (and heart) work and not plagiarizing. If our job as pastors is to equip the saints for the work of ministry, that means we're not there to entertain or merely "feed" them (which means so many different things to so many different people). In my opinion, if the Scripture is communicated accurately, if the meaning of the text comes to bear on the lives of those in the congregation, then we have discharged our duty that morning. But in the final analysis, what is the reason we come together on Sundays? If the answer is "to hear a good message" (whatever that means) then we really have failed. The answer is to corporately pour ourselves out in worship to our most worthy God. Of course, instruction in the Scripture is the central way to set the tone, as is the time singing and praying and giving.

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Keith Tolley

April 12, 2016  7:54am

Just the kind of reminder I needed as I looked at my blank screen again. Thanks Steve for these incredibly helpful insights!

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Jerry Caley

April 12, 2016  7:18am

Exactly what I needed to hear today as I wrestled with my discipline of study and the overhanging deadline. Thanks!

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Pastor S Kaikhanmang

April 11, 2016  11:08pm

Very good advice for pastors

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David Jebaratnam

April 11, 2016  8:28pm

Great job Steve!

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Derek North

April 11, 2016  3:50pm

This really rings true for me as a worship pastor as well, when weekly music sets that need to be creative, powerful, relevant, uplifting, different, and yet familiar all at the same time happen Sunday after Sunday. This is a very encouraging article. Perhaps God is concerned with my process in crafting musical worship as well.

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