This past Lord’s Day I had the opportunity to share in the preaching moment with the precious people of Mt. Salem. I love my church! I love where we’ve been. I love who we are. Interestingly…I am most in love with where we are going. Often I say to myself we have so far to go; all the while realizing that we may be there before we know it!
Non-series preaching, typically during Lent, always proves most difficult for me. I need the structure of knowing where I am going. I have developed, in most instances, the habit of knowing where I am going in preaching at least 6 months out of the year. For me, the best time of study is when I am in a particular book or passage or Let me say that this past Sunday had its challenges for me personally. Spring Break took a toll on me. Not only this – but the lack of consistency and clarity regarding my direction often proves futile.
I am most effective when preaching through a book, a passage or a theme. Because of my thoroughness, and my attention span, even short books can prove to be rather lengthy for me (I spent about 6 weeks on the first 5 verses of 1st Peter). I am challenging myself to now buckle down and go through an entire book nonstop, cutting out all of the thoroughness and using that for midweek teachings.
As was my lot, I found myself working on two passages throughout the entire week. I spent all week long periodically (my study time suffered due to Spring break) perusing Acts 20:7-12 on the story of young Eutychus, where this young boy fell out of the window while Paul preached. Third Sunday is generally our youth Sunday. Somewhere in there, I began to explore Mark 1:21-28 where the unclean spirit comes to church, the temple. I wrestled with both texts throughout the entire week. Needless to say, I went to the pulpit this past Sunday with two sermons on my heart and in my head. This is completely ill-advised for preachers and pastors, I know. But, yes, I did it. And this is not the first time I’ve done this!
Ultimately, as was my fate, I announced via social media that I’d be preaching from Acts 20 on ‘There’s a Child in the Window’. However, shortly before the time to stand, I changed the message and asked our church to turn to Mark 1 on ‘When the Devil Shows Up At Church.’
Well….I don’t remember getting any feedback on the sermon. Even if our congregation was helped by the message, the Lord simply allowed this opportunity to teach me the importance of having more direction and a stronger preaching plan, between plans. I get it; and I will adjust accordingly.
That being said, I need to work on shortening my sermons to at least 20 minutes in length. I can simply do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Again….this can only come through cutting out any words that are not crucial, critical or necessary to the central idea of my text or the overall point of my sermon. I will try my best to work on it. I am praying now for my direction in the coming weeks. So many varying places I want to go – wanting to continue on prayer; NEEDing to deal with stewardship of giving; having this pull of preaching a few messages on Christ’s passion leading to resurrection; and this strong desire I’ve had, for some time, to deal with Psalm 119 and 1st Corinthians.
How was your Sunday?