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Praying with Pure Praise

Let the Whole Church Say Amen!: A Guide for Those Who Pray in PublicThis book is for those who have to pray in public. I have decided to work my way through this book and post the exercises to this website.

The first exercise in this very book is about praying without requesting anything just praising God. The texts that we are to read are: Revelation 4:6-11, Revelation 7:9-12, Psalm 8, and Psalm 65. After reading these we are to take a crack at writing out a prayer like this. And here is my first attempt.

Oh Mighty God,

You are worthy of all of the praise that we could possibly give to you. Oh everlasting One who was, is, and is to come, we praise thee for thy mighty power. We praise thee for thy strength. We praise thee for your glory.

Just as the trees wave their hands to thee we reach to heaven. Just as the birds sing praises to thee we open our mouths. Just as the angels of heaven pray, Holy, Holy, Holy, we today lift our voices with the heavenly beings and sing praises to thee.

Matthew 2:1-12 – Where is the King?

Matthew 2:1-12

Here you are sitting in your seat of power that you have worked so hard and deligently to get and out of nowhere some outsiders come up to you and ask where is the new leader? Where is the one who is to take your position? Where is the King?

The Bible says that Herod was frightened of what he had heard. And not only was King Herod frightened, but the Bible says that all of Isreal was frightened with Herod. Why were so many people scared of what is to happen? Right now everyone knew who was their leader. Those individuals who were friends of Herod might lose their power if there is another King beside Herod. Those who have learned how Herod looks when he is bluffing and what they can give to Herod to get what they want had much to lose if Herod is replaced.

Many were scared of this replacement. Many were scared of what could happen. Many didn’t know what to do and so God chose to allow some foreigners to be at the vanguard of preaching about the replacement. Where is he that is born King of the Jews?

Many of us find ourselves in the same position. We say we want Jesus, but do we want the totally new orientation that comes as a result? We say we want Jesus, but do we want the first to really be last and the last to really be first? We say we want Jesus, but do we really want to order our lives by the new way that God has set up? Jesus is coming…no wonder it strikes fear in our breasts, but thank God for the outsider who has nothing invested in our current setup. Thank God for the one who will rejoice that Jesus is come. I pray that I will be like thsoe wise men who knew that the disorder of the Kingdom of God is better than anything we call order in this system.

Learning to Preach from Gospel Singers

I am having a ball looking at some of this classic gospel from the 60s. In this video the late great Dorthy Love Coates and the Gospel Harmonettes sing You Must Be Born Again. Coates looks like a preacher with her expressive gestures especially the facial features. She definitely lets her excitement and her identification with the music come through.

Can we as preachers learn from Gospel Singers? I think so. We should learn how the gospel singer becomes the message that is to be presented. Have we fully identified with the message? In addition we can let that identification show in our presentation.

5 Things I Want From a Sermon

After listening to a sermon, I thought about what I want in the sermon. Here are a few of the primary things that I want from a sermon. I especially want these things from a black preacher preaching a black sermon.

1. One Thought

Please have only one main thought and supporting thoughts. As I think about some of the more difficult sermons that I have listened to I begin to realize that often the preacher jumps from thought to thought without giving adequate exposition to any of them. If there is more than one main thought give me some kind of handout so that I can remember it. If it isn’t worth remembering it probably isn’t worth hearing.

2. Something to Take Home

Give me at least one thing to take home. Preferably it will be the main point of the sermon, but if not I will probably only pick one thing and forget everything else. Please help me determine what I should remember to take home.

In addition, give me something that I can apply when I get home. Theory is good and necessary, but if you don’t apply it, most of us will not be able to use it. My homiletics professor said that we should make sure that the Gospel is portable.

3. Do Not Bore Us

Do not bore the people. I am coming more to the conclusion that boring the people is sin. If you can’t make the Gospel exciting you probably are doing something wrong! Please note that I am not speaking of sensationalism, but something is wrong when a reasonably connected member who has come to hear a word from the Lord is put to sleep.

4. Know Your Sermon

Know Your Sermon. Practice your sermon. In addition don’t steal anyones sermon without giving proper credit and making the sermon your own.

5. Illustrations that Do Not Confuse

Do not use illustrations only a PhD can understand. I saw one sermon where the preacher put up a CAT scan of a Brain. It didn’t clarify anything and probably caused many minds to think about something else.

If you have 300 people in the audience and you preach for half an hour that is 150 man-hours that are spent listening to the sermon. Don’t waste those 150 hours!

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