Preaching Articles

I’m committed to sharing my battles, because hearing about my battles might help you fight yours. I am ashamed to admit this, but one Sunday I just wanted it to be over. Before church, my heart was not in a good place. I was not looking forward to the worship gathering. In fact, I wanted it to be over.

That puzzled me because I usually don’t feel that way.

So I prayed, searched my heart, and saw the problem: I was not feeling confident about my sermon. No, I need to be more honest. I was feeling fear about my sermon because one section felt weak, and the overall sermon was not clear in my mind. I had worked hard. Prayed hard. Written and re-written and re-written.  But still, I felt fear.

In the past I would have told myself, “It will be fine,” “Don’t worry,” or “Just relax.”

But statements like that don’t help, because joy and peace come through faith (Rom 15:13), and faith comes through God’s Word, not man-made slogans (Rom 10:17).

So first I set my heart on Psalm 19:7:

The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.

That’s what I needed: soul revival. So I prayed and asked the Father, through Jesus, to use His Word to revive my soul. I confessed that I wanted Sunday morning to be over, that I was not trusting Him, and that I was relying too much on myself. Then I thanked Him for His forgiveness, and that He promised to use His Word to change my heart.

Then I prayed through 2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

I prayed through every phrase, preaching it to myself:

  • God is able to make all grace (that’s a lot of grace!)
  • Abound to you (abound means overflow—more than I need)
  • so that having all sufficiency (that’s a lot of sufficiency!)
  • in all things (including preaching)
  • at all times (including preaching this morning)
  • you may abound (be overflowing, have more than enough)
  • in every good work (did I mention that includes preaching this morning?)

Slowly but surely, as I preached this to myself, the Holy Spirit strengthened my faith and changed my heart. Instead of seeing just me and the things that felt weak about my sermon: I saw God. I saw that God would be a constantly flowing fountain of grace giving me everything I needed for this sermon. The more clearly I saw God, the more my soul was revived. I felt peace, and even hopeful anticipation of what He would do.

I no longer wanted the service to be over. I wanted it to begin so I could watch Him work.

And (by His grace alone) He did.

Steve pastors at Mercy Hill Church of San Jose, CA., a passionate and caring community of believers. He and his wife, Jan, have been married 34 years.

Talk about it...

David Buffaloe

commented on Apr 20, 2012

Beautiful application. Thank you!

Stephon Rhone

commented on Apr 20, 2012

Thank you for sharing.....I've had some Sundays like that....very encouraging!!

Bumble Ho

commented on Apr 20, 2012

"Such confidence as this is ours through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant..." 2 Co 3:6

Nelson Blount

commented on Apr 20, 2012

Thank you, Steven, for sharing this segment of your journey with us!

Robert Glass

commented on Apr 20, 2012

It seems, that just when we are preaching to others, we need to be preaching to US.

Carlos Cortez

commented on Apr 21, 2012

Thanks for sharing. We need this kind of encouragement. When we teach or preach, we should be the first to learn from it.

Theodore Payne

commented on Apr 21, 2012

Thanks for this valuable information, I don't know of any preacher who has not been there at some time or another in our lives. This is encouraging!

Junny Velasco

commented on Apr 24, 2012

I have see myself last Sunday in you because I felt what you have told, and you are a blessing for me, Thanks because you wrote what you have experience I'm sure many preachers will benefit. God bless

Doug Conley

commented on Apr 24, 2012

Thank you for your thoughts. I feel that way at times, too.

Brian Brown

commented on May 10, 2012

Thank you for this artical. I have struggled with this myself. I am a young pastor that has only been a pastor for about two years now. I am a bivocational pastor with a wife and two teenage boys and some weeks I feel like my sermons are not as powerful as they should be. Its good to know that I am not the only one that has these feelings. Once again thank.

Pastor Ellsworth Herring

commented on Jul 23, 2018

It's true that we all feel this way sometimes. But I'm reminded of we all need to "encourage ourselves" in the Lord as David did (1 Kings 30:6)

James Bailey

commented on Jul 23, 2018

I appreciate your honesty, and the remarks you made. I know first hand that feeling. I just finished two years of Sundays like that. I didn't feel confident in what I, or God was doing. Mainly because the people in our small congregation didn't want me here and they couldn't care less what I said, or what god might be saying through me. Their mission was to come and "check out" what was happening to see if it met their approval. I do believe like you that God is the one who energizes what we do. So I survived on His power for two years. I am now looking for what God wants me to do next.

Wullie Wilson

commented on Jul 24, 2018

Know exactly the feeling. Especially if you are dealing with something which you feel very passionately about and it's causing upset among your brothers in the Lord. Trying to avoid bringing this into the sermon can be hard .

Francene Young

commented on Jul 28, 2018

Thank you for being vulnerable and humble enough to say what so many of us feel.

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