Friday, July 03, 2015

On Preaching: Two Articles

Three Reasons Incarnational Preaching Is Most Effective

Preaching is the killer “app” because it is incarnational communication. The very best way to communicate a message is to do so in person. I say this because live personal communication is the way that God chose to express Himself. The God who can do anything chose to communicate incarnationally.

My response to those who question the value of incarnational communication is to ask, “Why didn’t Jesus just come to earth for a long weekend?” If the only reason for Jesus becoming human was to die on the cross, why didn’t He just come to this dusty planet for a four-day weekend? That would have been plenty of time for Jesus to die on the cross and rise on the third day. The sacrificial atonement on the cross could have been satisfied in short order.

So why did Jesus share the planet with us for 33 years? What was His purpose for staying so long? Was He bored of heaven? Did He enjoy the stresses and strains of peasant life in the first century? Hardly.

When God wanted to express Himself most clearly, He incarnated—He came in person. Jesus, the image of the invisible God, came in the flesh in order to show us the invisible God. This is why Jesus said, “The one who has seen Me has seen the Father.”21

When God wanted to communicate the most important message in history He used the most effective communication strategy: incarnational communication. Why is incarnational communication so effective? Keep reading

Pastor, You’ve Been Invited to Preach in an Unfamiliar Setting (and You’re Trying Not to Panic)

A preacher friend whom I know only from Facebook sent out a panicky plea. He’s been invited to preach in a church known to be rather loose regarding some basic Christian doctrines. The friend is a Bible-preaching conservative.

Uh oh.

He is anxious and eager at the same time.

He asked a number of us: “What should I preach? What text should I use? Suggest some good ones! Some of the people in that church are probably unsaved.”

The answers piled in. One minister urged him to preach the entire story of redemption beginning with Creation and the fall and going forward.

That advice strikes me as highly questionable, although I’m confident it was well-intended.

I said: “My brother, do not try to reverse the history of this church in one 25-minute sermon. Just preach a text the Holy Spirit gives you and leave the results to Him.”

Then, I sent this personal, private note. “This is no time to reinvent the wheel and attempt something you’ve never preached before. Take a lesson from grandma in the kitchen. When guests are coming, you do not test new recipes. Serve something you’ve prepared before and know your way around. Ask the Lord to lay on your heart one of the time-tested messages He has taught you in the crucible of life.”

Preach what you know. Keep reading

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