Friday, November 12, 2010

The Preaching Event

We don't come to expect much as the preacher walks onstage, do we? We don't expect a life changing encounter. We don't expect a riot to ensue. We don't expect the powers and principalities to come in and shut down the service because something too revolutionary has been spoken.

The truth is: We don't expect much of anything!!

Our young people don't dream of becoming preachers. What excitement is there in that kind of life? How will I see concrete evidence of success as a preacher? It's just a 30 minute speech!

Our best and brightest are not studying to become preachers. They're challenged to become doctors, lawyers, politicians, professors, and teachers. And let me just say, we need Godly people in all of these positions. Everyone is a minister. Everyone is a missionary. But we also need preachers and the well is drying up.

Regardless of what many believe, I believe the world needs more better sermons. I don't think the sermon should be boring. It should be an electric moment of anticipation. I don't think people should have to sit through a sermon so they can go to lunch.

Just a 30 minute speech?!?


The sermon should be an event that rattles your cage, disturbs you, comforts you, inspires you, and provokes you. When the prophets and Jesus spoke, you didn't just sit back and evaluate the sermon. You were caught up in something because the communicator was caught up something.

Now, we might not want a preacher who rattles our cage. I know of people who come to church to be creatively reminded of what they already know. There are people in our churches who believe it's the job of a preacher to say what they already believe better than they can say it themselves.

That's pandering, not preaching! That's itching ears, not prodding hearts!

Some have pronounced the death of preaching. But I'm not ready to preach the sermon's eulogy yet.

We need more young people who can imagine a new kind of preaching. Not a preaching that confirms old traditions. Not a preaching that will ensure a larger auditorium in the next five years. We need preachers who are so wooed by the story of God in Scripture that they can't help but paint a vivid picture of God's burden for humanity to a congregation parched for the living water.



Tuesday, November 02, 2010


Less than 5 weeks from my marathon. It's scary and exciting all at the same time. Perhaps any good thing in our life is scary and exciting at the same time.

Initially, Holly baited me into running a marathon because "If the Biggest Loser contestants could do it, then I could do it." I'm not sure of the motivation behind her cunning challenge, but I have my guesses.

The road has been long and difficult.
-Injured foot (stress fracture or tendonitis)
-Hundreds of Miles
-Mental Battles (The left side of my brain still tells me I'm crazy)
-Wild coyotes and dogs to dodge on the running trail
-Running when I don't feel like it
-Saturdays filled with running instead of watching college football
-Sermons filled with running imagery (my congregation is tired of it)

When I stepped on the track in January, I could barely run a mile. As of last Saturday, I ran 18 miles in just over 3 hours. The transformation has been incredible and the discipline has carried over to other areas of my life.

It seems crazy, but I can honestly say that the half marathon race coming up in a week and half seems like an easy race.

Now, the journey is not finished. I've still got time for injuries or sickness to knock me out of the race. But at this point, I think I've learned something important. It's not just about the destination. It's about the journey! (Who am I kidding? If I don't finish the marathon next month, I will not be a happy person to be around.)

Lord willing (I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I think it means something like "Bless your heart!"), I'll have crossed one more item off the bucket list on December 5th. But I'm not so sure I can shake this running thing. It's like a drug. Once you start, you can only up the dosage to keep your high.

If only the habits of my spiritual life were as addictive.

Perhaps that will be the challenge for 2011.