I've been preaching now for almost 25 years.
I pastored my first church about 16 years ago, and was there for five years.
I just completed my fourth year in October 2008 at Loma Rica Baptist church.
Give or take a Sunday or two, that means I have preached over 200 messages in the last four and a half years.
I say all of this to give a little bit of perspective to what I am about to post here.
Last Sunday I preached a "normal" Easter message. This week I was back in the book of Hebrews as part of our onging series of messages through the book of Hebrews. In my opinion, both last week and this weeks messages were "flops".
My wife told me that last weeks message "rocked". I realize she might be biased, but beleive me, she will tell me when she thinks I did a "stinker", so I trust her judgement.
But it doesn't change my personal opinion of how I viewed the message.
Out of all the sermons I have ever preached, I have only been given negative criticism once....and that was about 20 years ago, and the part they didn't like is that I spoke well of Billy Graham, and they were upset because Billy had shaken hands with the Pope (yeah, I know what you're thinking, but I'm not making this up, it really happened...they were very upset about that & me speaking highly of Billy Graham...no wonder we Christians have a bad reputation with a lot of people).
Anyway, this has made me think today about this. Just what makes a sermon good or bad? The message itself? The preacher? The delivery? The special effects? The humor? References to the original languages? Funny stories? What? Have you ever heard a great sermon from a bad speaker? Have you ever heard what seemed like a great message, yet couldn't remember any of it the next day? Have you ever told a preacher the message was good, when you know it really wasn't?
I take preaching very serious, but I don't take myslef serious. I'm a goof. I tell stupid jokes. I make lots of mistakes. Sometimes I fight with my wife and/or my family before we leave for church...I know shocking isn't it.
And yet every once in awhile, someone comes along and shares what a particualr message meant to them. Or someone comes and wants to know bout salvaion, or about how they want a closer walk with the Lord. These are precious times.
Still, when you preach and you feel unconnected to the people, or when you feel as though your words are falling to the ground like they are made of concrete, you wonder if you are doing any good.
But I know that through all of the faults, the failures, the foibles, the fallings, that God has called me to preach. I read the scriptures and sometimes the message just jumps out at me...with the words right on my lips.
I don't even know exactly why I'm posting this particualr blog. I meant to get back to the continuation of the last entry, and I will get to that, but I just felt like I had to get this off of my chest. I don't know maybe it is just the rambings of a tired pastor.
Ok, thanks for reading.