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4 Facets of Emotional Awareness

What to consider when you're preaching with feeling.

4 Facets of Emotional Awareness
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Benjamin Franklin is supposed to have said that rock-star preacher George Whitefield's gift was so strong, he could reduce masses of crowds to tears simply by saying the word "Mesopotamia." This raises the question of what kind of sermons Whitefield was preaching that the word "Mesopotamia" came up at all. But beyond that, it raises a critical question about preaching and emotions. The Great Awakening itself—in which Whitefield was a central figure—featured people fainting and weeping in response to sermons. It was controversial among church leaders in its day. (Has anything ever not been controversial among church leaders?)

The first sermon preached at Pentecost resulted in people being "cut to the heart," as Luke puts it in Acts 2, which seems to indicate a strong emotional response. It's hard to imagine a life-changing sermon that does not move our feelings. Jesus' stories themselves are filled with emotionally charged characters—runaway ...

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