I love preaching. No, I have never stopped being nervous about it, or worrying that I actually have something worth saying. But I have also never stopped being excited about at least having the chance to get it right, and about what happens in people’s hearts and lives when I do.
When that happens, people say, “It was like you were speaking just to me.” Or, “It was like you were in our home, in my car, or at my office last week.” The truth? I always start with me. I start with what is going on in my heart, my home, my car, my office. I start with what I hear God saying to me.
And this is why. I figure that whatever differences we may have, as human beings we share a whole lot more in common. We are a lot more alike than we are different, no matter who we are or what we believe. So if there is something I need to be working on (and there are always things I need to be working on), chances are there are a lot of other people who are working on the same thing or something similar enough that the principles we are discussing will seem particularly relevant.
That is also what is so great about Sunday mornings (or Saturday nights) together in church in general. It keeps us from coasting through life, from just going with the flow and so too often drifting from our deepest values. It keeps us from the automatic process of being mindlessly shaped by our culture (which in some ways is great, but in others ways most certainly is not) unless we take deliberate steps to shape ourselves into who we want to be. It gives us a chance, in the context of abundant grace and love, and encouraged by the joyful celebration of what is best, to work on our stuff and get life right.
Yeah, I really love preaching. And yeah, believe it or not, as counter-intuitive to some as it may seem, I really really love church too. And that is why I am always so excited to see you there!