Are you a preacher? If you stand behind a pulpit or music stand of any kind and spout spiritual truth from God’s Word on a consistent basis then, like it or not, you are a preacher. It doesn’t even have to be adults you are delivering a sermon too for you to qualify. It could be college students, teens or, yes, even children that you are sharing God’s Word with on Sunday morning, Wednesday night or Thursday morning for you to be a true preacher.
According to Wikipedia, the definitive source for all things spiritual, a preacher is someone who delivers a sermon or a homily. While I’ve never delivered a homily, I have eaten hominy (much to my dismay.) And I have delivered in the vicinity of thousands of sermons (often to others’ dismay.)
It was at a Christian school statewide preaching competition where I delivered my first sermon. That’s right…a preaching competition (this oxymoron makes jumbo shrimp look popcorn shrimp puny!) But as I competed to win against my fellow fledgling preachers I was scared to death. I was so terrified that my sweaty, white-knuckled hands were literally shaking the pulpit. When the judges gave me my evaluation they had written, “Great job! You were so intense that you actually shook the pulpit!” What they interpreted as passion was sheer fear. From that moment on I knew that preaching was something that I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was hooked. Oh yeah, I was only twelve years old at the time.
The act of seeking to seize an audience with a powerful hook and then prayerfully, powerfully and persuasively (three P’s, proof of my preacherly practice) seek to download God’s Word into the minds and souls of an audience was more addictive than caffeine to my twitchy, younger self.
It still is.
I have been preaching God’s Word for thirty two years now and am more addicted than ever. I love the sheer audacity of unleashing God’s truth into an auditorium full of people and watching the Spirit of God and the Word of God do what they do best…transform lives. I love Dr. Tony Evans’ definition of preaching. It goes something like this, “the proper interpretation of God’s Word delivered to the needs of the audience in the power of the Holy Spirit through the personality of the preacher.” Effective preaching delves into all four realms: Scripture, audience, Spirit and personality. The chemistry of this combination of elements can be explosive!
So what’s the preacher dare for all you preachers out there? To preach the Word! Don’t preach around the Word or about the Word, preach the Word. Sure, you can tell your funny jokes, share your stories and even drop a “homily” on the audience from time to time, but preach the Word.
Why? Because when you preach the Word you are flexing divine muscle. You are unleashing the words of God which will not return void (Isaiah 55:11) and swinging a double-edged sword which will cut conviction deep into the hearts of the hearers (Hebrews 4:12.) Cute acrostics, feel good stories and bad exegesis may tickle ears but will never transform souls. But the proper delivery of God’s Word will produce transformation or damnation depending on the response of the audience.
I dare you to take Paul’s admonition to Timothy as the Holy Spirit’s charge to you, “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage’ with great patience and careful instruction” 2 Timothy 4:1,2.
I triple dog dare you!