In a recent article for, Rick Warren writes: “A lot of preaching today is what I call, ‘Ain’t it awful!’ preaching. It just complains about our society and makes judgments about people in general. It’s long on diagnosis and short on remedy. It makes Christians feel superior to ‘those out there,’ but it rarely changes anything. Instead of lighting a candle, it just curses the darkness.

“When I go to a doctor, I don’t want to just hear what’s wrong with me, I want him to give me some specific steps to getting better. What people need today is less ought-to sermons and more how-to sermons. Exhortation without explanation leads to frustration.

“The deepest kind of teaching is that which makes a difference in people’s day-to-day lives. As D.L. Moody once said, “The Bible was not given to increase our knowledge but to change our lives.” The goal is Christ-like character.

“Jesus said, ‘I have come that you might have life.’ He didn’t say, ‘I’ve come that you might have religion.’ Christianity is a life, not a religion, and Jesus was a life-application Preacher. When He finished His teaching to the crowd, He always wanted them to ‘go and do likewise.’

“Christ-like preaching explains life to people. It produces a changed lifestyle. Life-related preaching doesn’t just inform, it transforms. It changes people because the Word is applied to where people actually live. Sermons that teach people how to live will never lack an audience.” (

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