R. Larry Moyer recently wrote an article for ChurchLeaders.com on subtle ways Satan can slip into your pulpit. One of the most critical is this: letting your sermon preparation substitute for your own devotional time with God. He writes:

“I’ve heard of few sermons that benefited people much when they didn’t first hit the preacher. Preachers who preach with passion are those who have been so deeply touched by a passage that they become a channel to transfer the blessing to others. It shows in the way they come across. Their whole demeanor is not, “This is what you need.” Instead, it is, “This is what God showed me I need, and I know you’re going to be blessed by it, too.” Sometimes, there’s uncertainty as to whether it’s a sermon or a testimonial.

“Satan uses the struggle every preacher faces: time. You can begin to think you don’t have time to get alone with God, so your sermon preparation, climaxed by a few moments of prayer, will suffice.

“[Because] God is a God of grace, He obviously understands your time constraints and loves you, but He also desires your fellowship (1 John 1:3). Those moments when you close your ear to everyone else’s voice and just listen to His as it comes through devotional study of the Word—those uninterrupted moments with your best friend—are what keeps you fresh. Some of those times cause tears to run down your cheeks as He shows you areas in which you’re flawed and need improvement, but you still come away feeling energized. Interestingly enough, preachers who have fallen away from the Lord have commented to me that where they made their mistake was neglecting their quiet time with Him.” (Click here to read the full article.)

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