It is Monday morning, and already the mind of the preacher is focused on next Sunday's message. What should be preached this week? For years being Jr. Church director and youth pastor, this was my life. Then I became pastor, and let's just say the pressure became immensely more with preaching four times a week!
A few years into being pastor, I was speaking to another pastor about sermons we had recently preached. He then made a statement to me that changed my life in regards to preaching:
"Pastor Burke, I have a great sermon worked out, I just need to find a Scripture to go with it."
Now, you might not think much about that statement, but it started my wheels turning. He did have a great message, and there was alot of 'hooting and shoutn' going on when he preached it; but the reference he used was at best-a stretch.
My mind went to 2 Timothy 4:2 that reads "Preach the word".
God began to speak to my heart. You see, there is a difference between giving a speech and preaching...at least there should be. Giving a speech can motivate, educate, and regulate a people for a time, but preaching changes lives for eternity. What is the difference? Preaching is proclaiming the Word of God!
I was somewhat surprised at the poll from last week. What kind of preaching do you enjoy listening too? Expository led the way by one vote over Topical and Personal Testimony. I would think that this typifies my readers, but probably not Baptist Churches; but I do believe that what we need most is expository preaching.
I'm not against 'in your face, get right with God you dirty sinner preaching.' Matter a fact, I involve myself in that quite often! But I just fear we have had a diet in our churches of too much fluff and show and not enough meat and vegetables.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: Amos 8:11
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;
One area of great weakness in our churches today is a lack of knowledge of the Word of God. We do know, for the most part, what we believe-but being able to show someone in the Word why we believe it is a different story. We do know the pet-peeves of the preachers that frequent our pulpits. We do know the top 5 sermons from Sword of the Lord. We have heard 75 different sermons on David and Goliath, Digging Wells, and Watching out for Wolves, but we have no idea what Ephesians is about. We have little knowledge of the books of Jude, Amos, and Malachi (other than that is where tithing is, right?); and don't even dare turn to Song of Solomon! Revelation is for the prophecy experts, and we will leave Genesis up to Ken Hamm. But, if you want to know "Seven Reasons Why Men Don't Get Saved" well, we've got 21 of them.
You see, this year I have been working on getting into better shape. I have lost 32 pounds thus far and have a lot more to go; and I haven't started Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, or used Dr. Atkins diet, I just started making better choices and eating things that are better for me.
Instead of my Reese's cups, I eat a mandarin orange. Instead of a bacon, egg, and cheese biscuit in the morning from McD's, I eat a protein bar. You know what? I feel better, I am losing excess baggage, and my desire for the 'fluff' is pretty much gone.
I believe if more preacher's got back to expository, preaching the Word preaching, giving meat and vegetables instead of fluff to their flocks, we might mature as a people, shed some that sin baggage we carry around, and our desire for the 'fluff' sermons will dissipate as well.
And, you know what else, on Monday mornings I don't have to start the "Great Sermon Hunt" anymore, the Lord has already directed the passage we are to study by just going through the Word!
May God help us to Preach the Word!