once told a story about the time a fire broke out in a great theater. Hoping to
avoid a panic, they send out a famous actor to make the evacuation announcement.
He explains what is happening and what they need to do and the crowd thinks it
is part of the show and gives him applause. Worried, the actor continues and repeats
with passion the life-saving instructions. They repeat their applause. As the
actor pleads with them to run, they shout bravos while the walls of the theater
crash in around them. What they needed that day was a word they regarded as authentic.
Preaching is more than a performance. We need to give the audience an authentic
Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,
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