How to Structure a Sermon

The preacher was a well-respected pulpiteer. The sermon was doctrinally sound. He seemed to preach with sincerity, reverence, and passion. But the sermon felt like we were driving on a flat tire. What went wrong? At the end of the service, the friend sitting next to me leaned over a said, “He had four alliterated […]

Guarding Your Heart in the Pulpit

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus warned his followers not to practice spiritual devotion with ulterior motives (Matthew 6:1-18). Do not give to the needy to be celebrated for your generosity. Do not pray to be heard by men. Do not fast so people will consider you spiritual. How do you avoid practicing Godward […]

3 Things I Need God To Do For Me As I Preach

I publicly pray before I start my sermons. I also privately pray as I preach. Can you preach and pray at the same time? You better! Multiple things go through the preacher’s mind as he preaches. I’m not sure the preacher thinks about multiple things at the same time. Rather, the mind quickly and constantly […]

The Happy Dilemma of a Growing Preacher

I am preaching through the book of Ephesians. This past week, however, I chose to pause my study until the new year and preach something that directly pointed to Christmas. Seeing it was the staff’s last week in the office before the holidays, I decided to pull of file and preach an old sermon. I […]

Balancing Authority and Wisdom as a Guest Preacher

In my book, On Preaching, I recommended several best practices for guest preachers. I can summarize that chapter in one sentence: As a guest preacher, don’t make a mess for the pastor to clean up when you leave. I recently got a question about that chapter: I advocate clear, bold, and faithful preaching of the […]

I Will Not Offer the Lord What Costs Me Nothing

There are several Bible verses that drive my commitment to faithful preaching. They are 1 Timothy 4:16, 2 Timothy 2:15, and 2 Timothy 4:2. I regularly share these verses with young preachers, when I am asked for a passage of scripture to encourage them in the work. But there is another passage that reminds me […]

On Whooping

The first preacher to influence me was my father. He was more of an orator than a whooper. His preaching had a rhythm and cadence. But he, and most of his preaching colleagues, were not real whoopers. Then it happened. I heard whooping. Real whooping. At the conclusion of the sermon, the preacher turned his […]

Three Keys to Effective Sermon Preparation

“So what do you do for a living?” I have a new answer to that question: “I write sermons.” Occasionally, an alert listener will reply, “You only write sermons? Do you preach them?” Then I give the punchline. “Sure, I do. But it’s hard to remember that part. As soon as the sermon is over, […]

My New Book: “On Preaching”

I am excited about the release of my new book, On Preaching: Personal & Pastoral Insights for the Preparation & Practice of Preaching. (Moody Publishers. Official release date: May 1, 2014). This is my second book, the first being It Happens After Prayer. I wrote this book without knowing it. Desiring to grow in my preaching, […]