Okay, so tonight I had the chance to preach at our evening service. The topic of the sermon was some of the “one another” commands and I just tried to outline what they meant and how they apply to life in small groups. While it’s not the point, I might actually publish my manuscript here for anyone to read. There was a lot of content I didn’t get to.
Here’s the point of this blog post. Preaching is hard. It’s not that there is a lot of problems with public speaking. I’m sure that would be an issue for some people but for me it’s not. I regularly speak in front of groups and often many times the size as the group I had tonight. There were two obstacles I faced tonight.
The first is the notion that I was bringing God’s Word to His people. That sounds trite until you do it but all of the sudden when you look up and have your Bible open and see these many children of the King listening to you, it becomes very real indeed. Last week when our pastor let me close our service in prayer, my heart was beating like 150 beats/minute. What is it about Gospel ministry in the church that does that to people (I am far from the only person to have felt that way). I don’t know for sure, but I hope it is a growing recognition of who I am and who God is and how utterly unworthy I am to even mention His name publicly, let alone minister to His kids on His behalf.
The second major struggle was with my own sin. People who are not comfortable speaking in front of a group might think this is odd, but I actually wrote out my whole sermon word for word. I didn’t like trying to deliver it that way – I felt robotic many times – but I did it for a reason. I was deathly afraid of saying something that would be over the top, even if correct. I know my besetting sins tend to be related to an overly inflated opinion of my opinion and insensitive speech. That combination when preaching could get me struck down by lightning or swallowed up into the earth. Since the church can’t afford the repairs for something like that, I knew I had to prevent it at all costs. Sometimes I think I must forget that John Piper or John MacArthur or my pastor John are sinners just like me. Who knows what they do to keep their sin in check so it does not interfere with the delivery of God’s word?? Maybe some day I’ll ask them.
If you ever get a chance to preach, I hope you’ll take it. Surely I would do some things differently but I think it was good for me. The ominous nature of it certainly hit me and inspired me to greater personal holiness. If I accomplished nothing else it would have been worth it.