every time I preach …

 

Recently, I asked a large group of preachers how they would complete this sentence: “Every time I preach I _____.” It was an attempt to let us all overhear what we’re intentional about, as well as what else is going through our head, every time we deliver a sermon.

Following are two versions of how I completed the sentence. Obviously, the “long answer” version could be greatly expanded and also assumes the content, first and foremost, of the “short answer.”

Every time I preach I …

Short answer:

  • trust God will work through me.
  • believe God will work in spite of me.
  • have faith God is working on me.

Long answer:

  • try to give to all: skeptics & believers, seekers & wanderers, friends & enemies, men and women, rich & the poor, young & old.
  • can point to and reveal only the tip of the iceberg of what the sermon preparation has done for me and to me.
  • feed on seeing people hunger for God and actively work with me in that before, during, and after the sermon.
  • find fuel in recognizing those who are giving me clear encouragement to speak God’s will as I grasp it.
  • strive to do the best I can with what I’ve been able to contribute the preceding week to this moment.
  • am sensitive to the fact that people can’t hear a word of what I’m saying unless I’m living it myself.
  • deeply grieve over those who have obviously mentally checked out of what’s happening.
  • pray God will use this moment to bless someone powerfully and all of us in some way.
  • forget some of what I planned to say and insert things I hadn’t planned on saying.
  • want to magnify God in the name of Christ through the power of his Spirit.
  • feel inadequate to the task, being simultaneously broken and built up.
  • rejoice at the sound of crying babies, for it means youth are present.
  • hope for no needless distractions or attention-breaking happenings.
  • stay keenly aware of the quality of the content and the connection.
  • thank God for this tremendous responsibility and privilege.
  • regret having said something or having said it in some way.
  • yearn for prayers to be offered up for myself and for all.
  • will unintentionally leave some things unclear to some.
  • intend to represent our Lord the best way I know how.
  • wish I could do it without having to wear a necktie.
  • don’t know everywhere the sermon will go.
  • endeavor to deliver “fresh bread.”
  • thank God it’s not about me.
  • know I will make mistakes.
  • can’t wait to do it again.
  • sweat like a race horse.
  • seek to just be myself.
  • ain’t got not spit.
  • tremble.
  • pray.

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