Surviving a Dangerous Sermon

If we're honest, and preach the full counsel of scripture, we will have moments where we'll have to communicate some difficult messages.  How can we do that in a way that is both loving and faithful to Scripture?  In this video I offer 5 tips for Surviving a Dangerous Sermon.

#1 Tell Biblical Truth

When you preach, make sure this is God's truth and not your truth.  As preachers, we must exegete the text, so we're communicating what God wants to tell his people, and not our version of the truth.

#2 Be Honest

Let your audience know when you struggle with a text.  Just because a portion of scripture is true, it doesn't mean we enjoy it.  Let's face it, many of us wouldn't mind having our cake and eating it too, so be honest.  Let them know when a portion of scripture is difficult.  It makes you human, which is very important.  If even Jesus asked that the cup of suffering be passed, I'm sure you've had moments when you've struggled with scripture.  Communicate that to your audience.

#3 Be a Reconciler

God has given us the ministry of reconciliation, not the ministry of judgment.  Let's communicate is such a way as to persuade our audience to be reconciled to God.  Don't preach in anger, preach in love, with the focus on persuading people to follow Christ.

#4 Accept the Results

No matter how well you speak or how nice you communicate truth, someone is bound to get upset.  Don't sweat it, accept it.  When the scriptures confront someone, the person's response is their responsibility, not yours.  Therefore, accept the results, and keep pushing forward.

#5 Don't make it weekly

Don't preach difficult sermons for the sake of being difficult.  There are times when God's people must be confronted, but there are also times when they need to be comforted and encouraged.  Scripture is useful for correction and rebuking, but it's also useful for training (2 Tim 3:16).  People don't just learn by rebuking, they learn by adequate training.  Always offer hope.  

What else would you add to this list?

Overcoming Preaching Anxiety

Have you ever felt anxious about preaching?  In today's video, I offer helpful tips on overcoming the fear of preaching.  I pray it blesses you.

Public speaking and preaching, in general, will produce a significant amount of stress in us, so how do we deal with that? 

I'm going to give you just five quick tips on how to deal with that very subject. The first one is probably the most important. 

Being Ready

John MacArthur says that he used to read through the Bible just over and over, in fact before he preached on a book of the Bible. He would read that book of the Bible up to 30 times.

Preparation is key. It's been said that if you don't sweat in the study, you will sweat on the pulpit. I don't know about you, but I much rather sweat in the Study then sweat in the pulpit, in front of everyone. And if you're going to be a better Communicator, if you're going to be excellent at what you do, you need to be prepared. 

Second, I would say ā€¦

Always have a Bottom Line

What is your message about? What are you talking about? 
What's your point?  When you have a point, the rest of the subject matter flows from that bottom line.

I try to nail my sermons to one sentence, and then nail my sentence to one word that helps me remember what Iā€™m talking about.  So, always have a bottom line.  Your listeners will appreciate it.


Dominate your content

Be sure that you can dominate the content that you're preaching about. Sometimes we just go in over our heads and then wonder why we're drowning. I'm not going to say don't challenge yourself with new content but preach on subjects you're familiar with.  We need to know our limitations.  This doesn't mean, you shouldn't stretch yourself, it just means you need to know your content well enough to preach it comfortably.

Fourth, Practice your sermon

When I say practice, I don't mean to go over it in your head, I mean speak it out loud.  I know a preacher that preaches huge conferences all over the world today.  I remember visiting his house when no one knew his name (or just a few of us).  In his home, he showed us a room that he set up with a microphone and tape recorder.  In that room, he'd practice every one of his messages.  The more you practice your message, the easier it'll come to you as you're preaching it.

Last, Preach it

When it's time to preach the message, just be bold and go for it.  You did all the hard work in the background, not enjoy the ride of preaching it to an audience.  Don't worry about missing points or not saying something you thought about saying, just give it everything you've got.

What other tips do you have for overcoming preaching anxiety?
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