Thursday, September 9, 2010

Preaching the Gospel and Preparing the way!

Preaching the Gospel and Preparing the way!

I remember years ago sitting in my Homiletics class in college. Homiletics is the preaching or administering of God’s word. I don’t know why they do not just call it “preaching!” LOL! At any rate I remember hearing my professor share all of the times he had made mistakes and the pitfalls of preaching. I thought “there is no way I would do that- I am way sharper- way more cooler” boy was I wrong. You see preaching Gods word is so sacred. I personally believe that when I am writing a message it is a mixture of Jesus and I communicating as one. Although there have been times where he was silent and vice versa. In the day and age if internet drive thru sermons, and podcast duplication there seems to be a void in finding leaders who will simply hideaway and get a “Now Word.” What do I mean? There is something so powerful in getting that Rhema word from the throne room. A word that drives your Spirit to go deeper. A word that leaves the writer’s pen (or keyboard) smoking from use. There is nothing more satisfying to a true preacher than to finish a message and know this message will transform the hearer, and release a time released capsule of self evaluation.

I am reminded of how Jesus woke up each day. He had a mission! He started with prayer. Then he knew he had to Preach the good news. It burned in him. He waited for moments when the people were ready to hear and he would climb a rock, or jump in a boat. He was not to be distracted! It was his mission.

Luke 4:42-44, At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them. 43 But he said, "I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent." 44 And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.

Jesus ignored the phone calls, text, and emails. He was focused on a plan. There have been times where I felt something wasn’t right in my Spirit. It was if a anxious anxiety was all over me. Karen usually realizes what is up first. She has said to me on numerous occasions "you need to go write a message." The anxiousness I was feeling was really a tugging by the Holy Spirit to get busy- He had a message for me. I would finally give in- go pray/ write and come out of the furnace with a hot message. By the way it was the last earthly spoken words of Jesus before his ascension:

Mark 16:15-18, He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

I love what Spurgeon used to say- “Put a little fire in the sermon or put the sermon in the fire!"

Smith Wigglesworth was a simplistic man. He would write seven sermons- preach them for seven years- the throw them away and start over. Now we know that would never work today in a generation that must be entertained. In fact preaching is a combination of orator proclamation- sensitivity to Gods voice- dramatic art- and idea development. There should always be a sermon in you.

2 Timothy 4:2-5, Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

I want to give a few cue’s on how to best deliver your on fire message. These are simple, but I believe they will also guide you into becoming someone that causes others to realize you have something to say. God wants to use. He has placed His kiss upon you. Remember Romans 11:29. His gifts and calling are irrevocable.

Preaching for change:
• Remember when you begin a message or sermon- have in mind what your end result should be. In other words when you begin a road trip you need to know where your gonna end up or your just strolling in oblivion. Dream out your altar. See the people responding. This allows you to stay on point in your message. It will help guard from having a wondering pen. I challenge you to know in the beginning what it is you want to say. Also honor the time your given.
• Have fun. Preaching is fun. Sure it is normal to be nervous, but you don’t have to say it. You see those sitting out there are not judging you. They don’t need you to say your nervous. It makes the room awkward. Instead just begin to flow.
• Also never respond to your surroundings. That means crowd size should never determine motivation or passion.
• Minister from your Spirit man. If you truly studied and you developed your thought God will honor your study.
• Trust God Spirit. He will lead you. So many times we get up to speak and we try to make excuses for what god has told us to share. God doesn’t need your help in apologizing.
• When you begin your message prepare your opening according to your audience. If it is a familiar audience that knows your heart you can most always dive right in. In the situation where you’re a newcomer give the message time to grow. Take a few minutes and be funny or be open about you the speaker. This sets others at ease. I continually fight the fire burning in me when I get up and have to remember some of the wood in the audience is wet. So it is my job to get the wood stacked correctly. There have been times where the Spirit of God is moving so awesomely that I can step up and hammer the message immediately, but most of the time the people need to know the doctor they are giving permission to operate on them.
• When writing your message- be mysterious. Meaning lead them down a path that is getting more narrow. People love anticipation. In fact when writing your title don’t always give away your conclusion. Establish the thirst formula. The thirst formula is pushing people to get closer to the well as you keep pouring the salt in their mouth. I have heard young preachers give their entire message in the first three minutes and all anticipation leaves the room as the young leader goes full circle to where he began. BORING!
• When writing your message look for moments to give the audience a breather. It can be by a story, illustration, or dramatic pause. Here is what I found works for me- as Gods word is sinking in I will at times bring the scripture to life with a personal life story. You can almost hear the average hearer say- OH! That is what the scripture means. I also love to use illustrations in the flow of the word- It allows the hearer to experience the “In the moment” understanding. Guard though- too many distractions- AND I HAVE DONE THAT- it will cause you lose track. If you lose track then you better know the listener in the chair is way lost! LOL. Illustrations should compliment and never hinder. They should be simplistic, but real. Your audience enjoys capturing a memory. Most people won’t remember the story, but the illustration sticks in their psyche, and if you bring it right- IT STICKS IN THEIR SPIRIT.
• There are so many times of sermons: Expository (The speaker walks thru usually one text and brings it to life), Manuscript/ story- (The speaker brings to life a message that has been written out in detail), Topical- The speaker flows in different directions, but is focused on bringing one main topic or series to life, Illustrated sermons- This is the dramatic interpretation of a message, and lastly- the- OUTLINE sermon- The speaker generally makes a simple outline and runs with it. Why would I call it the Outline sermon? I guess for me it simply will not work. I have tried it, but I usually chase rabbits, get off course, and most of the time go way too long. It works for some speakers, but not me. I have to manuscript. It allows me to stay focused. Now I will say that when I am doing a leadership teaching- at times I can flow thru an outline. There are many preachers who find a scripture and just go- they don’t plan- they don’t lay it out- and they usually don’t grow a church.
• When writing your message prepare for areas to hover for a while. There are times where you need give room to elaborate or follow the leading of the Spirit.
• Make sure your very organized in your notes. Be able to see them clearly, and make each page easily accessible.
• Every speaker has speaker mentors. Find three-four leaders you can learn from. You will take something for yourself from each leader. In time those leaders may change. Be willing to evolve as a speaker. What used to work for you may not work anymore. Just be sure to never lose your passion and replace it with pandering. I have had many speaker mentors. Each taught me new levels of speaking. After a period of time you will eventually become your own speaker.
• That being said- listen to the Holy Spirit while you’re talking. You can feel God at times interrupt your message. He may tell you to stop and give the call for change.
• The call for change is a moment you must guard to never miss. You can preach your way out of a move of God.
• When speaking always do your best to be up! Never preach from a bad experience or hurt. You will poison the crowd. That means get free before you get up. Never allow the platform to be a bully pulpit, but at the same time you must speak with authority and power.
• Ride the roller coaster. In other words don’t speak flt lined. Flow with the spirit, your emotions, and wisdom. There are “moments in a message” that create memories. Watch for the moment.
• When you trip over yourself make it a fun moment. Everybody appreciates someone who can laugh at themselves.
• People want encouragement and reproof. Everybody knows they need to change, but it is better for you for them to discover that.
• Also, if you’re married- have your spouse be your biggest fan. Never enter the pulpit when stuff isn’t right between the two of you. Fix it! Then preach. Remember to never embarrass your family. That means avoid sharing hurting or private stories. If you plan to use something that could potentially harm your family ask permission first. As your kids get older that don’t always appreciate your stories. LOL. Trust me I know.
• Realize everyone out there won’t listen to you. Never just focus on the ones who dont seem connected with you. Focus on the hungry. The hungry will determine the Spirit you preach from.
• Don’t beat people to death. Instead lead them shepherd to fresh grass.
• When you get ready to close build momentum for the monumental moment of change. Get people excited. Prepare their hearts for change.
• Your preaching must be true to who you are as a leader. Remember, most likely your family and friends are in the room. They know when your being real. Use your real voice.
• Be real- people can see a phony coming from a mile. Be honest at all times. Never lie in the pulpit or the Spirit will lay dormant.
• Ignore interruptions (like a crying baby) or if you have to make a joke and help everyone else relax with the intrusion. Don’t condemn. You look like the bad guy. Plus embarrassing others only allows the enemy to fill the room with anxiety. In fact most interruptions are not intentional. This is where training leaders comes into place.
• Don’t preach for a reward! Preach for the Kingdom. God will bless you in due time. You’re not a salesman.
• Never be crude for shock value. It simply diminishes your influence. Be professional and sharp.
• It is ok to be transparent, but also remember you’re a leader. We must guard against ever giving the audience permission to do something we should have defeated in our lives. Be above reproach. I never bring my family or marriage down to the lowest common denominator.
• When your speaking always honor the leadership of the house. Do as your asked or you will never be asked to do again.
• In your message make sure you have the compassion of Jesus, boldness of Simon Peter, and worshiping heart of John. It is critical the people see you worship during the time before you begin. Get on your face. Be exuberant. Don’t be stoic! It isn’t pretty to look at.
• When you get done with your message- leave it all on the field. You did your best. That is what matters. Never invite a failure Spirit in.
• When you get done be ready for the crowd- show humility, but also show strength. Give praise to Jesus, but accept compliments with humility and graciousness.
• You can touch the world, but first you must touch the carpet!
• Remember it has to be fun!
• Get them in the altar. Be simple in your invitation but bold! Realize it is not your place to judge whether the people want to come to the altar. It is your place to prepare the way and open the door. Don’t miss the moment. Eternity will tell the story.

I remember hearing a powerful story years ago. There was a pastor who shepherded a congregation in a small mid-western town. In all of those years of pastoring in that little town only one person had gotten saved. It was young boy who came to the altar. The young boy eventually moved away. The preacher eventually became discouraged and left town defeated. Years later the now retired old preacher was in a service that a young preacher was ministering and sharing his heart for Africa. After the service the young preacher came up to the old preacher and introduced himself. The young preacher told the old minister that years and years ago his father was saved in his church as a boy. He shared that his father was the first to accept Christ in his family. He hugged the old preacher and thanked him for his faithfulness. The young preacher left and continued itinerating. He eventually made it to Africa to be a missionary. The missionaries name was David Livingston the great martyred missionary who brought revival to Africa.

Team I hope this helps you prepare to win a generation. There is more to come in lesson #2 of 3M!

1 Corinthians 9:16, Yet when I preach the gospel, I cannot boast, for I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel! I can’t wait to hear you bring it!

Sincerely, Pastor Pat

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