Donít Preach to Me!

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[July 11, 2008]  A preacher once asked comedian and actor George Burns for advice; ďYouíre so good with audiences, Mr. Burns, and you hold their attention so well. Do you have any advice for a preacher?Ē He answered, ďMy advice is to have a good beginning, and good ending, and then keep them as close together as you can.Ē --

RestaurantWhat is your opinion of preaching? There seems to be two vastly different views of what happens in our communityís churches every Sunday morning. One group just canít believe that anyone would sacrifice a day off to go and sit in church and listen to someone deliver a 25 minute speech. And yet, a number of people are re-discovering the thrill of listening to biblical, quality, and passionate preaching.

Surprised? Itís true! A growing number of adults are re-discovering the excitement of listening to pastors who have mastered the ancient practice of unveiling the deeper secrets of God through the art of preaching. Itís being accomplished with surprising clarity and simplicity.
A man recently said to me, ďI love your sermonsÖyou put the hay where the cows can reach it.Ē Iím not sure, but I think thatís a complement.
I have been a preacher for some 15 years now and for the last two years here in Lincoln. Any one who knows me well knows I love preaching. It consumes most of my day to day thinking. My philosophy is: ďIf I canít eat it or preach itÖI donít want it!Ē

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Preaching at Lincoln Christian Church has always and will always be a challenge. I have people who know the bible from cover to cover and then I have people who couldnít find the book of Acts. I have people who have been Christians for 50 plus years and I have people who just started investigating what Christianity is all about. One group wants the deeper things of Godís word and the other needs me to keep it simple. Itís like having a class of college students all the way down to kindergarteners, each asking to be challenged.
Iím not the only one with these challenges either. Just about ever church in town has the same group makeup. Without question, it is very challenging to be a preacher in Lincoln Illinois. However, I may be nervous at times, but I am never intimidated.
The Apostle Paul spoke very highly of the profession of preaching. He said in I Corinthians 2:1-4, ďWhen I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony of God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spiritís power, so that your faith may not rest on menís wisdom, but on Godís power.Ē (NIV)

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An old professor of mine once said, ďIt is the greatest of sins to make Godís word boring.Ē Maybe itís due to quotes and scriptures like these that make preachers work so diligently on their messages.

I have always felt that if people have a high view of scripture, you will have a high view of preaching. If you have a low view of scripture, it leads to a low view of preaching.

So my challenge is simple; donít downplay the importance of preaching. God has said, ďFaith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.Ē

One last thing! Letís remember, it was Madonna who sang, ďDonít preach to me!Ē It was not someone who was deeply passionate or outwardly concerned with eternal issues!

Submitted by Ron Otto
Preaching minister of Lincoln Christian Church

[Submitted by Ron Otto-  Preaching minister of Lincoln Christian Church]

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