Archives For Preaching

Rick Warren PreachingHopefully, by October, you’re already thinking through your preaching calendar for next year. Part of shepherding a congregation toward long term health is offering a balanced diet from the pulpit. Your preaching over a twelve-month period should be pre-planned with certain factors built in.

Before a new year begins, I try to identify eight to twelve series’ that I’m going to do for the year. What I’m looking for most is balance. There is no way I’m going to be able to use all of the themes that I come up with, but I want to be balanced. And I want to look at several factors as I seek that balance.

First I want to be balanced in content.  That means I need to do a doctrinal series, a relational series, and an ethical series. I want to strike a balance between Old Testament and New Testament. And I want to preach to people at various stages of spiritual growth.

Second, I want to have balance in terms of style. I may do a character series such as a series on Moses, Joseph,  or Joshua from Hebrews 11. I may also do a…

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In their return to Saddleback Church after the death of their son, Pastor Rick and Kay share the very personal story of Matthew and his battle with mental illness. They explore the stages of loss that they are walking through with honesty and transparency, teaching us how to do the same in the tough and tragic times of our lives, reminding us that through it all, God is with us and loves us, and urging us to follow Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 1:4-6 — to comfort others in their troubles as God comforts us.

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Are you losing people when you preach?

Do people check out during your sermons?

After listening to thousands of sermons and preaching quite a few myself, I have learned 8 different ways that pastors lose people in their sermons.

1. Sloppy Transitions

You just told a great story. It was funny and thought-provoking. But as soon as the story ended you suddenly switched direction and started talking about something else.

Wait… what? Slow down. How did we get from that funny thing your kid did to some old guy in the Old Testament?

Where is the connection?

You have to make clear connections between one part of your sermon and the next. Otherwise, people get lost in the transition.

It is as simple as saying, “that funny thing my kid did reminds me of a story in the old testament where a man named Samuel experienced something similar.”

Boom. Bridge built. Transition made. I see where you are going.

Typical transition points are after the introduction, before and after scripture, before and after illustrations, and before the conclusion.

Please don’t overlook how important a simple transition statement is in keeping everyone in the audience on track with you.

2. Too Many Points

I recently…

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Adrian Rogers outlined sermons using four phrases:

  • Hey You! (Get the audience’s attention)
  • Look! (Examine the Scriptures)
  • See! (Explain the passage)
  • Do! (Make application)

Andy Stanley is famous for one-point preaching, but really breaks his messages into five movements:

  • Me (How do I struggle with this?)
  • We (How do we all struggle with this?)
  • God (What does the Bible say about this?)
  • You (What should you do about this?)
  • We (How can we all live this out together?)

And I’m not sure who came up with it, but another well-known system is:

  • Hook (Get attention)
  • Book (Examine the Word)
  • Look (Expound the passage)
  • Took (Make an appeal)

The Puritans jumped right into point one of 27ish as they preached for several hours and there are plenty of other outlining methods as well. I’ve changed my system several times over the years, which I think is important to keep us out of a rut. Lately, I’ve been outlining my messages around three movements..

WHERE WE ARE

In the first part of the message, I speak about the problem or issue that the message addresses, hopefully in a way that motivates my hearers to identify with the problem personally as in, “Oh yeah, I struggle with that too!”

WHAT GOD SAYS

In the…

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Preparing a Sermon is Like Building a HouseI was in construction for 8 years of my life, mostly as a roofer. Having done tons of new construction houses over the years I learned a lot about what it takes to build a house from the ground up. There’s something about being on a roof for twelve hours a day at a new construction site that gives you a birds eye view of the entire building process.

All during the time I was a roofer I was also developing sermons. As a volunteer middle school youth leader and once-in-awhile pulpit fill at a small Baptist church I learned to exegete a text at the same time I was learning to swing a hammer.

There’s a lot of parallels to building a house from the ground up to building a sermon from the text up. Here are at least seven.

1. Pick the best place to build.

Location is everything in real estate and construction. If you build a house in the wrong place it won’t sell. If you build it on the wrong type of ground it won’t last.

When it comes to Scripture you have a…

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Up All Night to Get LuckyEverywhere I go I hear that song playing. It’s on TV, radio, at ballgames, in convenient stores – all over. It’s got stuck in my head. I started thinking on the title and reflecting on past experiences and conversations.

I started thinking about how many pastors stay up late Saturday night working on their Sunday morning message hoping to get “lucky.” Hoping that they will deliver and come through with excellence. Friends, it doesn’t work like that.

I used to serve on a church staff with a senior pastor that would come in and change his message every single Sunday morning. He’s switch points, slides for the presentation software, music. He killed our creative flow. We had an entire worship and creative staff dedicated to creating amazing worship experiences and they were constantly handicapped by last minute changes.

Hear my heart. I worked with another pastor who planned a year out. He was awesome. But on the rare occasion that he would come to the team and say God had laid something new and fresh on his heart, we would move heaven and earth to accommodate and support him….

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Rick and Kay SpeakThe outpouring of love for Rick and the Warren family from all of you pastors and leaders has been incredible. It means more to Pastor Rick personally than you will ever know. Every day we receive new notes of encouragement, and your love is felt.

This past Sunday the 28th, Rick and Kay spoke of the past 16 weeks and their experience through Matthews passing in a sermon called How We’re Getting Through, and we hope there are lessons in this sermon that can be shared in your own church. Please download the transcript, mp3, and sermon outline for free here. (click on ‘parts’ tab)

You can also watch a video of this sermon here.

Download via Saddleback Resources

Pastor Rick is officially back and will be preaching the new 6-part series How To Get Through What You’re Going Through that will use Biblical characters as examples on how to get through life’s difficult times.

1. Part 1 – Shock: When Your World Collapses (Aug 4th)
2. Part 2 – Sorrow: When Your Heart Is Breaking (Aug 11th)
3. Part 3 – Struggle: When You Don’t Understand (Aug 18th)
4. Part 4 – Surrender: How To Experience…

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How to Preach With AuthenticityThe kind of preaching that changes lives is from the heart to the heart, not from the head to the head. Lives are changed as we speak from our deepest pain and suffering.

Socrates was the first to explain communication in 3 dimensions. He talked about ethos as the speaker’s character, pathos as the speaker’s compassion, and logos as the speaker’s content. We tend to think most about the content of a sermon, but the people to whom we are speaking perceive all three, and ethos is really the most vital of all three dimensions.

Ethos involves your credentials or credibility as a speaker. Socrates was wise enough to conclude that who you are is far more important than what you say when you are speaking. In fact, your character determines what you say and do.

Almost any communications book will tell you that if you want an audience to listen to you, you must be attractive to them – not so much physically (thank God) but attractive in our character. And the most attractive quality of a speaker is authenticity.

In other words, if you want to preach effectively, be you. You’re the only you God ever made. After He finished designing…

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The New Testament Book of Acts includes a story from the life of Philip that can give us guidance today as we seek to reach unbelievers with the gospel.

Philip had been ministering in Samaria when an angel appeared to him with a different assignment. He should leave Samaria, and travel south to a road connecting Jerusalem with Gaza. Luke comments that it was called “the desert road” (Acts 8:26). On this road, he came upon a political official returning home to Ethiopia.

Philip’s attention was taken as the man was sitting in his chariot reading audibly from Isaiah’s writings. The narrative tells us the official—a eunuch in Queen Candace’s court—had been to Jerusalem to worship. Doubtless, he had heard from the passage but did not have understanding of it.

The man’s lack of understanding was the bridge Philip walked over to start a gospel conversation. You can check out the entire story in Acts 8:26-40.

As we saw a few weeks back, people today still go to the Bible when they have problems. Among those surveyed, 42% had turned to the Bible within the past year to help them deal with pressure. One-quarter of…

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TeenagerPreaching to teenagers can be extremely challenging but extremely rewarding.

After spending years working as a Youth Pastor, I have learned a few things about preaching to teenagers.

Photo Credit: Robby McKee cc

These lessons were hard-learned through trial and error. Mostly error.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything you need to know. But hopefully these tips will help some of you not have to learn the hard way like I did.

1. Be Authentic

Be yourself. Don’t try to be cool. Don’t try to act just like a teenager or use all the same slang they use. Students have a built-in poser detector. They can spot a fake a mile away.

We have all met the 40-year-old youth pastor who is trying way too hard to be “hip.” Don’t be that guy.

We have also met the 20-year-old youth pastor who tries way too hard to be a hipster. Again, don’t be that guy.

Teenagers want to know: Do you really care about them? Do you really have an authentic relationship with Jesus? Do you really practice what you preach?

Authenticity is the one of the most important things you can have as a speaker. It doesn’t matter how…

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1. Thou shall turn off notifications.

The only thing worse than a cell phone ringing in the middle of a prayer is the preacher’s iPad ringing in the middle of a prayer.

Make sure to turn on the ‘Do Not Disturb’ switch in ‘Settings’. I also turn on ‘Airplane Mode’ just to make sure I don’t have anything popping up from Wi-Fi.

At one location I preached there was a very weak Wi-Fi signal that I didn’t have the password to. A Wi-Fi connection message kept popping up while I was preaching.

You don’t want any distractions from the message God has given you.

2. Thou shall turn off auto-lock.

I have forgotten to do this a few times. Five minutes into the message my iPad blacked out. It totally threw me off.

I had to pause what I was saying, open the iPad, and swipe to unlock before resuming the message. This is even worse if your iPad is password protected.

Always make sure to open up ‘Setting’, tap ‘General’ and set ‘Auto-Lock’ to ‘Never’.

3. Thou shall lower the brightness.

If the stage is dark and the brightness is too high your iPad will…

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Francis Chan at SaddlebackThe recent Saddleback sermon series Follow Me has featured some of the best teaching pastors in the US. So far we have heard from Greg Laurie, Francis Chan, Wilfredo De Jesus, Russell Moore, Jud Wilhite, Perry Noble, Judah Smith, and Doug Fields. Our aim is to serve our community of pastors and church leaders. Choose any one part of the Follow Me sermon series as a free download by using the coupon code FOLLOW13 at checkout. Click here. (excludes DVDs).

Download Your Free Sermon

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