As part of A Year of Books on Preaching, I’m posting a review a month of a preaching book, and then a list of quotes and takeaways.
Top Ten Quotes
Nobody ought to come to hear me preach. We ought to come to hear the voice of God. (Location 117)
Preaching is leading in listening—listening to the voice of God and helping others do the same. (Location 144)
Preaching ought not to settle into the comfort of instruction without the resultant inspiration. It must not be content to be engaging unless it also moves toward conviction. (p. 34).
A preacher must not assume the listener’s attention. Attention is earned. The window by which that attention can be earned is short, and the preacher must be worthy of it. (pp. 45-46).
If the Son of God could take on flesh, then so can our preaching. (pp. 47-48).
Preaching must always be more than just an understanding of God. It must also be an experience of God. (p. 70).
Preaching, then, is a most confident action because it is participating in this thing that God has already promised to do. (p. 82)
To preach like a pastor is to preach like a lover. We are not at war with our listeners. (p. 93)
What would it look like if we actually heard from God and were compelled to respond appropriately? How would we recognize such an outcome? Would we know it if we saw it? The preacher needs to see it—and then show it to the listeners. (p. 115)
Sometimes preachers will have a greater impact if they say less—a lot less…Less is more—always so. Great design in preaching will feature plenty of white space because our words have to breathe if they will have impact. (p. 143)
- Recover your confidence in preaching, not because you are a great preacher, but because God is at work.
- Discover—listen for the message to be proclaimed. Ask what God is saying through this text to these people at this time.
- Assemble—produce a sermon that can communicate the message. Engage through story; instruct with a theme; convict with the gospel; inspire people to join God on mission.
- Master—make possible the outcome for which the sermon is assembled. Live with it; share it with others before you preach it; speak it; pray it.
- Deliver—create the event through which the outcome is achieved.
I developed some evaluative questions from this book to use during the sermon preparation process:
- What is the problem to be solved? How does it show up in life from the perspective of different kinds of listeners?
- What is the big idea of the text? What is God saying through this text to these people at this time?
- Where does the big idea conflict with how we normally think? Where does the message pinch?
- How does the sermon take me to the cross?
- How can I create time and space for conviction?
- How does this gospel propel people into action? How might people change as a result of hearing it? What would it look like if we responded appropriately? Is there something we can do right now?