Posts belonging to Category Preaching



Do Pastors Prepare Their Own Sermons?

Do pastors prepare their own sermons? I believe that most do, but looking at my stats from last week gave me pause.

I received over a thousand hits last week from people searching for such things as “Palm Sunday sermon,” “sermon for Palm Sunday,” “sermon about the donkey,” etc. The hits started coming first thing Monday morning and continued throughout the week. The greatest number of hits actually came on Saturday, the day before Palm Sunday. The hits continued late into Saturday night, and I even got a hit from someone searching with this phrase: “If I had to preach a sermon on Palm Sunday tomorrow, which Scripture would I use?”

Now I am sure many of these people were looking for devotional material to read or perhaps for illustrations or supplementary material for their own sermons. I often read other people’s sermons for personal benefit or to help in my own sermon preparation. But the pattern of searching would suggest that there are some people scooping the internet for sermons to preach the next day rather than actually preparing a message during the week.

Some of these hits came from foreign lands where perhaps not all pastors have the same benefit of training and financial support that many pastors enjoy here in the United States. But most of the hits came from cities right here in the U.S. It just makes you wonder.

Click here for related post: So When Do You Start Preparing for Sunday?

Alliteration Generator

Update 1: It appears the generator at the link is no longer working. It’s a shame, because it was a fun little tool when it worked.

Update 2: Here is an alternate link that does something similar – and it works! https://alliteration.me/

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Like to alliterate? Try out the free Something of Something Alliteration Generator. One practical application could be for preachers putting together three-point alliterative outlines for their parishioners. (That’s six “p” sounds in a single sentence. How many can you do? Pick a letter, any letter.)

Most Read Sermons on the Blog for 2007

One of the reasons I started this blog was simply to have a place to publish my sermons on a weekly basis. The thought was that if anyone at church missed a message, they could catch up with it later in the week on the blog. Also, this seemed like a great way to expand the ministry of the messages by making them available to a wider audience than the congregation present on Sunday mornings.

I have been pleasantly surprised at how many people actually find and read these messages while searching for various items online. It is gratifying to see God still using a message that was preached months ago in the lives of people today. So, with that in mind, here is a list of the most read sermons on the blog for 2007.

Related posts:

Mike Huckabee’s Sunday Sermon at Prestonwood

(Video links and transcript below)

Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee has attracted a lot of attention in recent weeks, especially among evangelical Christians. I know I have been looking at him more closely as I consider which candidate to vote for in the upcoming primaries.

On Sunday, November 4, Huckabee preached a sermon at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas. Jeremiah 29:11 was the Scripture text for his message: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

In his opening remarks, Huckabee made it clear that this was a personal not a political message.

I want to share really more of a message from my heart then about just politics, and I know that sometimes when people like me come to a church, the expectation is, okay, he’s going to use this to politicize. I want to assure you, I’m not … I want to … distance myself from ever making the pulpit a place where I would try to somehow take advantage of it in that way.

You can view the video of the message at the three links below. I have also included a transcript of the videos if you would rather read Huckabee’s sermon. He has a great illustration using the Arkansas Razorbacks at the end.

Video links:

Update: You can also view all three videos at The Huck Report.

Related posts:

(Click the link below to read the transcript of Mike Huckabee’s sermon.)

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A DeLorean Goes to Church

Talk about a sermon illustration – check out Pastor Lee Cummings’ amazing prop for his message series I Love the Eighties at Resurrection Life Church in Richland, Michigan.

(Video length: 0:44)

All I could think was, “Wow! And here I thought it was pretty cool this past summer when we added a graphic to the slides on my message series.”

So, what do you think of props in church? Helpful? Distracting? Gimmicky? Depends on the church’s culture?

HT: iThinkCafe

Preaching Tired

Yesterday I was really tired preaching. No, not tired of preaching, just tired while preaching.

I was working off of about three hours of sleep after getting back from an all day trip to New York City with the family. It was a great trip with a lot of fun experiences capped off by a Larry Norman concert in the evening. But we didn’t get home until close to 2:30 a.m., which is very late for us as a family.

Anyways, I have never preached on so little sleep before, so I was wondering what might happen. I was hoping I wouldn’t fall asleep in the middle of my own sermon.

The funny thing was that I had a feeling that I was preaching too long. This was a Communion Sunday, which meant we would need an additional ten minutes at the end of the service to celebrate Communion together. I don’t like to look at the clock while I am preaching, and I usually have a pretty good sense of the time. I felt the sermon was dragging on forever, so I began to edit on my feet. I preach from a manuscript, so at first I clipped a sentence or two here, then a paragraph, eventually whole sections!

Finally, I got to the end of the message, called for the deacons to come forward to serve Communion, and looked at the clock. Our service runs from 10:00 to 11:00, and I fully expected the clock to read 11:05 or even 11:10. The time was . . . only 10:53!

So as it turns out, I actually preach shorter on less sleep. I wonder if this means I will start getting middle-of-the-night crank phone calls from people in the church to keep me up late Saturday nights?

Related posts:

Billy Graham Preaches Jonathan Edwards

The Jonathan Edwards Center has posted a (temporary?) digital exhibit called Billy Graham & Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God. In the fall of 1949 during his historic 8-week “Canvas Cathedral” Crusade in Los Angeles, Billy Graham preached Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”

In retrospect, it was a fascinating set of circumstances: the man who would become the most famous preacher of the 20th century preaching America’s most famous sermon to a new audience many generations later.

There are numerous interesting theological, rhetorical, and stylistic questions that arise from this preaching event. For the first time since its preaching, we are able to make audio portions of this sermon available to the general public on our website for a limited time. Please join us in exploring this fascinating piece of American religious history.

The exhibit includes a historical background to the 1949 Los Angeles Crusade, audio clips from the message, as well as various transcripts. Here is a link to a full transcript of Edwards’ message marked up with Graham’s omissions and additions for purposes of comparison.

Jonathan Edwards and Billy Graham are two of my heroes, so I found this a fascinating exhibit.

HT: Jonathan Edwards Center Blog

Clock Watching at Grace Community Church

Did you know there is only one clock in the whole sanctuary at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, CA? (Grace Community is the church where John MacArthur pastors.) It is built right into the pulpit top, where it is visible only to the preacher.

Now there’s a good idea. Let the preacher watch the clock instead of the congregation. (Who knows? The people might actually prefer it that way!)

A. W. Tozer on Preachers and Hearers

Here is a good quote from A. W. Tozer on preachers and hearers. This would be a good one to reflect on in preparation for Sunday morning worship.

When considering a pastor the average church asks in effect, “Is this man worthy to speak to us?” I suppose such a question is valid, but there is another one more in keeping with the circumstances; it is, “Are we worthy to hear this man?” An attitude of humility on the part of the hearers would secure for them a great deal more light from whatever size candle the Lord might be pleased to send them.

When a man or woman becomes worthy to hear, God sometimes talks to them through very unworthy media.

God will speak to the hearts of those who prepare themselves to hear; and conversely, those who do not so prepare themselves will hear nothing even though the Word of God is falling upon their outer ears every Sunday.

Good hearers are as important as good preachers. We need more of both.   (A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous)

Tag Team Preaching with Charles Spurgeon

Unashamed Workman has a great autobiographical story from Charles Spurgeon about “tag-team preaching” with his grandfather one Sunday morning in church:

As I neared the chapel, I perceived that someone was in the pulpit preaching, and who should the preacher be but my dear and venerable grandfather! He saw me as I came in at the front door, and made my way up the aisle, and at once he said, “Here comes my grandson! He may preach the gospel better than I can, but he cannot preach a better gospel; can you, Charles?”

As I pressed through the throng, I answered, “You can preach better than I can. Pray go on.” But he would not agree to that. I must take the sermon, and so I did, going on with the subject there and then, just where he left off.

The text for the sermon was Ephesians 2:8 – “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Spurgeon and his grandfather passed the text back and forth several times that morning. As Spurgeon preached, he could hear his grandfather commenting in the background.

Now and then he would say, in a gentle tone, “Good! Good!” Once he said, “Tell them that again, Charles,” and of course I did tell them that again. It was a happy exercise to me to take my share in bearing witness to truths of such vital importance, which are so deeply impressed upon my heart. Whenever I read this text, I seem to hear that dear voice, which has been so long lost to earth, saying to me, “TELL THEM THAT AGAIN.”

Be sure to read the whole story over at Unashamed Workman. (Source: Charles Haddon Spurgeon Autobiography: The Early Years 1834-1860, Volume 1; pp. 363-364)

Okay pastors, get your sermons done and no whining!

As a fellow pastor, I got a chuckle out of Mark Roberts’ blog this morning. He mentions going to the Open House at his daughter’s school last night and seeing an oversized “No Whining” badge hanging on the wall.

How great! I wish I had a few of these, both to wear and to hand out to others. Yes, sometimes even I need to be reminded not to whine.

But now I’ve got to stop blogging and get back to finishing my sermon for this weekend. I always have to do a sermon. My church maaaakes me. It isn’t fair. Nobody else at church has to do a serrrmon. And they want a good one too. Every week. Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!

Okay pastors, you’ve heard your word for today. Quit your whining and get back to your sermons – and I’ll get back to mine!

News and Notes – 5/17/2007

G.I. Jonah. Don Levine, the creator of G.I. Joe, presents Almighty Heroes, a series of Bible-based action figures depicting champions from the Old Testament. The new series includes biblical figures such as Samson, David, Noah and Moses. For girls, there are fashion dolls based on women such as Queen Esther and Deborah the Warrior. Each figure comes with its own Bible storybook. Levine, who is Jewish, hopes that children can learn about the same heroes that he did as he grew up.

A long way from home. A very confused penguin swam ashore on Peru’s southern coast Sunday, 3100 miles north of its Antarctic home. “It seems he was disoriented and got lost in the sea due to the different ocean currents,” said Wilder Canales, who heads the National Paracas Reserve in southern Peru. Maybe it took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

Preacher dies preaching. The Rev. Dennis Jenkins, a retired minister, died while preaching an anniversary service at Tabernacle Baptist Chapel in Wales. He was 77 years old. Chapel secretary Nigel Hughes said: “His sudden death was a great shock not only to his family but also to the church and the wider Christian community throughout Wales and beyond. This grief is tempered by the fact he died proclaiming the Christian gospel he loved and preached so passionately.” That’s how I want to go – just not this Sunday.