I plan by Thursday this week to finish re-reading “Christ-Centered Preaching” by Bryan Chapell. I’m going over this book again because it gives lots excellent information on preaching.
I am also going over it again because some of my messages in recent months haven’t been as good as they should be.
Oh I had a sermon outline (and even handouts!) but the time and effort put into those sermons just weren’t were it should be. It’s easy to become so busy in ministry that your study time is affected, the end result is a sermon that needs more work 😦
This came to a head a few weeks ago when my sermons fell flat, and I went home angry at myself for not putting in the work….
Thankfully by Monday my attitude changed from anger, to a renewed commitment for excellent preaching
The shame and frustration I felt Sunday night are a natural part of life. Nobody likes to fail! However what we do with that shame makes a huge difference.
Satan wants that shame to fill our hearts with anxiety, fear, or worthlessness (self-pity). This way the shame keeps us from attempting other things because “it will always end this way.” God wants that shame to become a 1,0000 watt flashlight that shines on our weakness (not putting enough time into sermon prep) which leads to confession, and repentance (doing better).
The problem is we often are so crippled by the shame that we aren’t willing to admit the sin that God clearly reveals!
Yes admitting my messages could be better intensified that shame
But the rededication to excellent preaching that followed was worth all the emotional pain.
Last Sunday both messages that came out of my renewed sermon-prep habits were definitely better than the week before! They may not have been excellent, but that’s okay (growth takes time). What matters is getting up after you have fallen.