This July I celebrate 10 years of preaching. No crazy celebration or anything, but 10 years! Wow!
For the past 5 years I have preached an Easter Sunday service. Each time it was a beautiful time of sermon preparation. I would find a text, dive deep into it, find something I have never seen or heard preached before, and find celebration at the end. I approached it like a revival. It was the Super Bowl Sunday for preaching. I mean its Easter! OMG!
Then I realized something.
-People are more apt to try the church for the first time ever on Easter.
-Some people in the pews on Easter Sunday are coming to church and this may be the only sermon they hear…all…year.
-The next time people may hear you will be a funeral.
-Statistics show that even “seasoned” mature Christians don’t have an awareness of scripture. (Tell me where Zephaniah is)
As I prepared to preach this Easter I had to pull all the way back and realize Easter is not the time for me to prove I know how to preach. Easter is the time to remind you of the power of the Lord. Thats it.
Preachers as you prepare this weekend. As you put the final touches. As you go to commentaries, read your books, listen to other sermons remember, There is someone in the pew who:
-Will open their bible for the first time
-Will be at your church for the first time
-May never come back but never forget your sermon
This is literally the most important sermon you may ever preach. You are not Called to prove that you can, you are called to remind them who he is. Thats it.
A few things
1 - Remind yourself of your call narrative
What has kept me centered is reminding myself of my call narrative. Why I was called, where I was Called adn to whom I am called. My narrative is Jeremiahs call narrative. Its not always comfortable, but it is necessary. You are not to imitate. People are not coming to church to hear someone off youtube, they are coming to hear what God told you.
2 - Say Exactly what God told you.
Nothing more. Nothing Less.
3 - Tell Your Story
Remember you are assigned to your story. Your destiny leaves clues. This easter I am intentionally sharing my story of insecurity, abandonment, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, questions of faith, womanizing and more. All fo that. Why? because the people in the pews of the church I am assigned to I guarantee are dealing with it. Tell your whole story.
4 - Don’t give “them” what they want. Give God what he asked for.
At times this is the most difficult thing. I have been struggling all week preparing for this easter sermon. Easily the hardest sermon I have ever had to write or wrestle with. Its really easy to cave into the full church moment and give the people what they want. “Killing the house.” Its really difficult to give God exactly what he asked for….Killing demons in the house. Remember, the Father is Glorified when we make disciples (John 15)
Stand Tall, My brothers and sisters.
Speak Strong, My brothers and sisters.
Don’t miss this moment.