Preaching Articles

Is it just me, or was there an ultimate weapon used in cartoons that isn’t used quite so much in real life?  Whether it was a cat chasing a mouse or a bird fleet of foot, sooner or not much later the arch nemesis would bring them into collision with a great heavy anvil.  Ouch.

I suppose in real life the anvil has its disadvantages as a weapon.  It is probably fairly heavy.  Somewhat cumbersome.  And it is probably fairly avoidable.  What it gains in gravitas it loses in penetrative impact.  To put it another way, I’d rather fight a foe with an anvil than an enemy with a blade.

Which brings me to preaching.  Some sermons feel like the preacher is trying to reproduce the cartoon impact of an anvil.  A massive amount of weighty content delivered as quickly as possible.  Much better to sharpen that sermon and preach a single point, rather than trying to deliver the whole container load of exegetical insights.  The blade may feel lighter to carry, but it will have a great impact in listeners’ lives.

I need to ponder this afresh before tomorrow.  It is so tempting to try to give ‘em everything right between the eyes.  In my cartoon-like prayers they will all be stunned and transformed.  In reality they will both see it coming and feel annoyingly pushed by it, but without the message penetrating.  How can I sharpen my main idea?  What can I cut out to make the message do its work in a streamlined way?

The Word of God is sharper than any double-edge anvil.  Obviously.  May our preaching of His Word have the massive weight of the text behind it, but the sharpness of a deft blade in terms of its focus.

Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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David Buffaloe

commented on Jul 9, 2012

His Word never returns void, but does all that He wants it to do. (Isaiah 55:11) The Word of man dies, but the Word of the Lord endures (Matthew 24:35)

Bill Bishop Iii

commented on Jul 9, 2012

So many times we try to convey too much information, and so doing we lose many of the listeners. I remember that old but so often true statement; just keep it simple and doing so become more effective to the general congregation

Keith B

commented on Jul 9, 2012

Good point to make. Sometimes it seems easier to just do a brain dump on a text. It's almost easier to just do some research and get up and recite what the commentaries say. The challenge is to tie it all together into a coherent point to take away.

John E Miller

commented on Jul 11, 2012

Good thoughts!

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