Monday, February 24, 2014
Was that a sermon or a book report?
With the busy schedules of pastors, many have turned their sermons into research projects (some who actually have research assistants doing "research" for them) preached as a book report, rather than delivering a message from God through His Word and empowered by the Holy Spirit.
It's an easy trap to fall into. You intend on getting to prayer and study for your sermon, but something comes up that delays you getting started. And then something else comes up, followed by something else. Before you know it, very little time is left at the end of your week to put together a sermon.
But you were a competent student, you know how to open the Book, research a topic, put together your points and even toss in an illustration or two for interest. Viola! You have a sermon!
The problem is, it's not birthed in prayer and personal study, where you seek to hear the voice of God and work out with His Spirit the message of a scripture text. On top of that, you've had no time to wrestle personally with the living out of the truth you've discovered in the Word, or let the Holy Spirit illuminate you on the subject.
You've got a book report, and that's what you present to your congregation.
Such sermons are lacking the power of the Holy Spirit in them. Instead of coming from a position of, "Thus saith the Lord ..." it's a sermon that regurgitates information compiled by a student working hastily to turn in his homework.
Do you really think your congregation is going to deepen spiritually from that kind of sermon?
If you want to see lives changed, sermons must be messages from God through His Word, delivered by His messenger, as empowered by the Holy Spirit. In order to have that kind of sermon, you will have to prioritize your time and possibly have others to take care of those things that come up that try to steal away your sermon preparation time that allows for vibrant prayer, study, and working out of the Word.
Your congregation will know and experience the difference between a Spirit-inspired sermon and a book report. They will significantly benefit from just one. Now which will you give them?