I know it’s not like this for all preachers, but for me the process of creating a sermon is rarely easy. I read and pray over the scriptures. I spend time finding out what other wise people have thought about the passages. I pray and write and pray and write. I often end up with 6 or 7 half-sermons before I get to the one I actually preach.
I’ve tried to change this process over my ministry, but it seems to be what works for me. And I’m just beginning to understand how my arduous process helps me. It helps me get rid of those shiny, distracting things that are interesting, but aren’t central. It offers a process to get out all those things I want to talk about: all those wise quotes or easy gentle sermons or off-topic tangents. And then, finally, in the Holy Spirit’s own time, I am left with what God wants me to share with this particular group at this particular time.
This week’s sermon process has been a doozie. And it’s because I’ve been trying to avoid what God wants me to share. (Will I ever learn that God wins? Just last week we heard the story of Jonah and how he tried to avoid God’s call.)
Every sermon, prayerfully created, has something in it for you. Sometimes it’s life-altering. More often it may be a passing thought or a phrase that sticks. A prayerfully-created sermon is an interpretation of God’s message to you. Notice. What do you hear?