Tag Archives: worship

What a Good Sermon Does

There is some bad preaching out there.  There are sermons that are theological swamp lands and others too boring for the strongest caffeinated drinks.  Some sermons chase rabbits like a hound; others skirt the text like a ballerina.  Preacher, please don’t mislead me or confuse me or, heaven forbid, bore me with this great message.

I’ve been preaching most of my life- 25 years off, 28 years on. At the risk of opening myself to clever comments from amateur comedians who hear my sermons, let me tell you what a good sermon ought to do.

1. A good sermon informs. A good sermon tells us the truth. It teach us God’s word.  That should go unsaid, but because it too often goes undone, it needs saying.  Preacher, tell us what God says, not just what you think.  Tell us what we need, not just what we like or want.  Teach us the bible.  Tell us what God wants us to know.  This is an irreplaceable part of good preaching, but it isn’t enough.

2.  A good sermon inspires.  A good sermon tells us the truth in a way that moves our emotion as well as informs our logic.  It touches our spirit as well as our mind.  Preacher, use a story once in a while.  The bible is full of them.  Use some illustrations.  They grab our attention and they help us to see the truth in a different way.  Preach with some passion and stir us to greater things.

3.  A good sermon implements.  A good sermon applies the text to our lives.  It doesn’t leave us in theory, but connects God’s word to our practical world.  Preacher, answer the question “So what?”  Tell us why we need to know God is the creator.  Tell us why it matters that we understand what grace is.  Move us to action.  Move us to change.  We need to see that God’s word is relevant to our lives.

4.  A good sermon invites.  A good sermon invites us to trust Christ as Savior and to follow Him as Lord.  It invites us on this great journey of faith.  It calls us to decision as it confronts us with the truth.  There is an invitation to something greater and deeper and more real.  Preacher, don’t be satisfied for us to know the truth.  Call us with everything you have to follow the Truth with everything we have.

Excuse me now.  I’ve got to work on my sermon for this weekend.  This needs to be a good one.  Hey, even a pig can grub up a diamond every once in a while!

Why the Church Matters

“I like Jesus, I just don’t like the church.”

Here is the problem with that thinking. Jesus is the One who formed the church. It is His idea and He is for it. And if Jesus founded the church, He did it for a reason.

Let me encourage you to get involved in a local church. It isn’t perfect and do you know why? Because it is filled with people like you. There are no perfect churches just as there are no perfect people. We connect with others in a church because we need each other, not because any of us are perfect.

Maybe you have had a bad experience with a church. Maybe you got your feelings hurt or you met some unkind people or it just didn’t work out. But don’t give up on finding a church family and connecting.

I’ve had the great privilege of being part of some fantastic churches. The church I’ve served as pastor for the past 18 years is phenomenal and I love those people dearly. But even if that hasn’t been your experience, there is a church and a place for you.

One suggestion about church. Don’t make it just about you. Don’t just think of what you can get from the church. Consider serving instead of just attending. Love others whether they return that love quickly or not. Don’t make it primarily about styles you like but about worshipping the God of the universe.

Connect with a church that teaches and lives the truth. Get active, get involved, be faithful.

If you do, you might change your thinking from “I like Jesus, but not the church” to “I like the church because I love Jesus.”