God's Word for today

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Preaching "from the heart"

The last couple of weeks I've been doing a preaching series around the Lenten journey, based on John van de Laar's excellent resource, Living in the Promised Land.  (This book can be purchased in e-book form from John's website, http://www.sacredise.com/).  It has been a time of blessing and challenge both for me and for our congregation at Camperdown.

However, I was challenged this morning by one of our Local Preachers, who came to me this morning and commended me for "preaching from the heart".  She noted that one can "immediately tell the difference" when I am preaching from the heart; the implication is that I've been guilty of simply "following the series" on occasion.

This hit me with a bit of a jolt, but also highlights the danger of being too "formulaic" with one's preaching.  Sermon series (especially those following the lectionary) are good disciplines and can challenge one to explore passages of Scripture that one may otherwise be inclined to want to avoid, but one should never substitute process for passion.  And in hindsight, what with the Annual General Meeting and other meetings the previous week, I arrived at church feeling tired, stressed, and pressurised - and ended up simply going through the motions.

Not good.

Today's message was around taking up one's cross and following Jesus.  Invariably, whenever I prech, I preach to myself as much as to my congregation.  This morning's message was one that I really need to take on board, especially in times of great pressure.  I need to give of my best - God expects this, and my congregation deserves it.

No comments: