The Religion and Ethics NewsWeekly has an Interview with the Dean of Preachers Gardner C. Taylor. You can find the interview in text and some video at this link. Dr. Taylor talks about many issues including church and politics, mega churches, and preaching.
One very important quote is the following:
I think much of contemporary preaching does not prepare people for the inevitable crises of life. When we talk constantly about prosperity, well, life is not constantly prosperity. It has adversity and difficulties, and if one is trained, conditioned to see only the bright side of things, then one is not prepared for living in this world.
Sermons Grounded in the Real World and the Gospel
As preachers we must preach sermons that that are grounded both in the real world and in the real Gospel. We cannot pick and choose the nice things from the scripture and act as though we are preaching a Bible sermon that includes the full counsel of God. Dr. Taylor reminds us that we must prepare the hearer to have a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWord from the LordÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â when sickness hits. The congregation needs to remember that they heard somewhere about a God who said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI will never leave you nor forsake you.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â (Hebrews 13:5).
The temptation to only preach prosperity is always there especially in many African American contexts. However, when the inevitable pains of life strike us we need to know about the real God of the Bible who is Emmanuel.(Matthew 1:23) Pain will come, we will have to live through some pains, but the God of the Bible will be with us in all of our pain and hurt. That is the promise.