For all of my friends out there who preach sermons on a regular basis.
You will understand the following rambling the best. The rest of you, just pray for us. Be kind to us. Be patient and long suffering toward us. Send us a Hallmark card every once in a while.
We are part gladiator but part gladiola (we wilt easily).
We are sometimes poetic sometimes pointless.
We struggle to be relevant yet not trendy.
We strive to speak with a degree of certainty but without dogmatism.
We are sometimes little boys standing behind big boy podiums.
We reach for what is beyond our own capacities in a effort to feed hungry souls something which will nurture and nourish.
Preaching sermons is not about delivering a speech. Preaching done well, done right, is that which issues from a life long love for God and His ways. Preachers are perhaps more mothers than fathers, who, after taking in life to our inward parts, go through a period of gestation until the moment our truth teaching emerges as a new born. In front. In public. Where all can see. Where all can hear.
Will the truth we bear, be nurtured and cared for by those who hear or will this gospel-child be abandoned? Will anyone take this child home to care for it…. to give it a place in their life? Or will the spiritual formation so hoped for, by the preacher, be unclaimed in the end. A child longing for adoption but orphaned nevertheless. Bottom line: we preachers, aspire to presenting something which can make a difference. Something in which people will find value. Something transformative.
So, we preachers, the vast majority of us, anyway, are not just doing speeches. Our sermons represent the deepest part of our souls. To speak a sermon is to speak in our native tongue. It is to be at home in our own skin. We respond to a call from the deepest part of our spirit and soul. Pray for us. Let us know when it makes a difference.
A year ago I began posting my sermons in audio form as a podcast. I had received requests from a few friends. (And I mean few in the truest of definitions). Those few prevailed upon me to consider putting my sermons out there on the internet and so I schooled myself in mp3 formatting and in a matter of days, we were out there in streaming audio for better or worse.
Preaching sermons is something from which I take some enjoyment. I am at the same time challenged, energized, exhausted, exhilarated, deflated, pumped up, happy, sad, qualified and inept.
What you read below is from the podcast page. I share it here as an elaboration of what I’ve been saying earlier in this post.
The podcasts you will find here are mostly sermons I have preached at Oakhaven Church in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. These are posted for the benefit of exploring the wonder of God’s word in scripture. No claims are made as to my own expertise as a scholar or authority. These audio presentations are not edited. They will often include a side comment or reference to a Powerpoint slide or handout. They will occasionally include a statement or an aside comment which might need clarification or even correction.
I frequently find that if I listen to my own sermons I wince at the choice of words or wish I had elaborated on something so as not to be misleading or inaccurate. Bottom line: “it is what it is”. These are sermons to encourage one to study on their own, draw ones’ own conclusions. Finally my own efforts serve well to point out the frail human condition of any of those of us who call ourselves, “preachers”.
We paint a target on our chests every time we publicly proclaim God’s word.
We are usually our own fiercest critics.
Like Paul, we embrace the fact that
“we know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified….and we stand before you in weakness and in fear and much trembling….my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit of power that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God”
1 Cor. 2:2-5 ESV and a little paraphrasing of my own.