The Necessity of Getting With the People in the Sermon
The preachers who preach truly great messages often come into the lives of the people. Listen to the preachers who really touch their congregations. Listen to the illustrations used. They are illustrations from regular life. They are illustrations that we all can understand.
They are stories about chasing the bus that just left or driving when the gas gage says empty. They are stories about cooking chocolate cake or stirring up lemonade. They are stories about a daughter making us proud or a son landing in jail. They are about love between a man and a wife and the struggle to keep a marriage together. They are about songs on the radio and shows on the television. They are about the unexpected knock on the door with that meal you couldn’t afford as well as the neighbor who had to go to bed hungry. They are about spots on the X-Ray that end in death as well as praise reports about false diagnoses. They are about always believing in God, and yet sometimes having the audacity to even question God. They are about the struggle between hope and hopelessness that makes this world an interesting place to attempt to live. Great preachers live where we live.
I have sometimes heard about preachers running out of things to preach. They tell me that they need a sermon. I would encourage you when you feel like you have run out of things to preach. Go sit down and look at life. Look at the ups and the downs. Look at the triumphs and defeats. And then after having soaked in the real lives of real people. Then go the scriptures with eyes open. You are seeking to find hope for the hopeless. And when you do this, God will not disappoint. Go sit down with the people before you attempt to preach to the people. Even God had to get down with us which is why Jesus is called Immanuel. When you do this, the people will at least be addressed in their native tongue of suffering, love, hope, and struggle. And your sermons will be, as Dr. Gardner Taylor said “infinitely sweetened.”