Great Sermons

I love to hear a great sermon.  Yes, in part, because I’ve been trained in preaching so I appreciate it as an art.  But even more so because you hear the heart of God in a unique way. A great sermon is…

  • God’s Truth flowing through a human vessel that’s been changed by that Truth.
  • God’s Wisdom that has been unearthed through hours of digging into The Word.
  • God’s Heart that flows, not from an outline, but from the passion of a man who’s heart has been moved.

Years ago one of my mentors, Pastor David Joiner, coaching me, pointed to his pulpit and said, “Mac, as a young man I walked into that pulpit unprepared one time in my life.  That day I didn’t steward God’s Word with integrity or responsibility.  God broke my heart as he revealed my laziness in preparation.  So from that day I committed to God that I would never stand behind that Holy Desk unprepared ever again.”

That commitment made him one of the greatest preachers I’ve ever heard.  And that phrase “holy desk” was forever branded in my mind giving me a holy fear of my responsibility to preach God’s Word with truth and passion.  Pastors never take the privilege and responsibility of preaching lightly.


The Preaching Preparation Process

I was hanging out with a couple of pastors recently talking about the preaching process.  I was trained in a specific process when I was in seminary but over the years it has morphed into my own approaoch.  Whenever I have to teach or preach here are the series of questions I work through as I look at a passage:

  • What does the text mean? What did it mean to the original readers? What was God’s intent in inspiring these particular words and details?
  • What questions will the text raise in mind of the reader? What historical, theological or grammatical information needs to be explained to have a full understanding of the text?
  • What is the underlying theological truth of the passage?
  • What are the natural divisions of the passage?
  • What primary needs do the truths of this passage address?
  • How do these truths impact my life and character personally? What changes or adjustments do I need to make?
  • What are the primary truths of this passage that make it life changing for my audience? What issues are they wrestling with and how are the truths of this passage going to help them?
  • How can I illustrate these truths in such way that the illustrations connect with the emotions of the listeners?
  • What is the bottom line lesson I want my listeners to walk away with? What does God want to do through this message?

Do you have to teach any time soon?  Select a passage and give these questions a try.