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