In a recent article for PreachingToday, John Johnson reminds us that preparing sermons begins with paying attention to our own souls. He writes: “How does one preach words that penetrate? How can we avoid the kind of thin and shallow messaging that plague so many of our pulpits, that waste our congregants’ time? It begins with our souls, with time with God.

“In the days of Jeremiah, the spiritual condition of the nation was not so different than ours; it had drifted into bad religion. The words of the prophets had become nothing more than hot air. There was a famine of Word in the land. Jeremiah identified the reason: “The Word is not in them” (Jer. 5:13). The Word of God was not resident, because these ancient preachers no longer stood in the council of the Lord. Nothing of God was imparted to them (Jer. 23:18). So, nothing of any depth was gained. They spoke from their own heretical minds, preaching self-invented words that were comfortable—but not radical. They were good humor men who wooed the crowd and watered down the message.

“Too much preaching has turned into entertainment designed to woo the crowd. It is time to recover ‘standing in the council of God.’ Preaching cannot be reduced to a few thoughts put together at the end of the week after reading The Atlantic, Time, the latest Grisham novel or Sports Illustrated. It is not a hurried work, another pastoral task to be checked off before Sunday. Ask yourself, ‘Am I spending more of your time in the council of culture or in the council of God?’ Unless it is with God, sermons will tend to use the Word in a decorative way, a garnish for the main dish, whatever that is. People will go away hungry.” (Click to read the full article.)

Share This On: