Plato once said, "Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something." I never want to become the preacher that "has to say something." My preaching flows from my personal time with God and in His Word. I have heard some preachers say to make sure my "sermon prep" is not my personal time alone with God. I understand what they are suggesting. They don't want my personal time with the Lord to become an academic study void of relationship. Here is what I have discovered about my own sermon prep... (1) I don't prepare a sermon because it's my "job" and I "have to say something." I prepare a sermon because I have spent time with the Lord in His Word. I pray, I study, and I ask for God's Wisdom. I want God's voice to be heard over my own. (2) I'm not sure I know how to study God's Word without spending time with God in the process. I wouldn't have it any other way. Rather than creating a dichotomy between my walk and my ministry, I ask the Lord to walk with me during my ministry. I ask Him to teach me as I teach others. (3) I want my worship and my preaching on Sunday to be an overflow of my worship and study from the previous week. I believe if my sermons flow from my own walk with the Lord, they will be authentic. (4) Finally, I have a quote that I keep in front of me during "sermon prep." It reads: "I desire to preach messages that present the inspired Word of God with such faithfulness and sensitivity that God's voice will be heard and His people obey Him." I believe that if i am faithful to God's Word and sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, God will use the messages for His purposes. If any wisdom is gleaned from my preaching, I hope people recognize it was because of Christ and the fact that I spent some time with Him.
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Dr. Chris Dortch has been in vocational ministry since 1993. His blog is aimed to "equip the saints for the work of ministry."