The Bargain of the Year

One of the online sermon sources is offering a CD containing “30 years of sermons on one disk.”

No thanks. And I wonder who is purchasing these things.

Might as well offer a collection of “what I have said to my wife over 47 years of marriage.” One is as personal as the other.

The sermon I preach today–well, sermons, because I’ll be delivering three–are all things between the Lord and me. Jeremiah 23 warns God’s preachers against getting their sermons from each other.

That’s not to say it can’t do some good to study other people’s sermons. In fact, we can gain a lot from it.

From other people’s sermons, I learn:

–how they did it, how they understood it, and how they said it.

–where they placed that illustration, how they introduced that sermon, and how they brought it to the climax.

–as much on how “not” to do it as how to do it. Let’s face it. Many times we sit in church listening to other preachers or hear them on TV or read their stuff in a book and we think, “Okay. Maybe that’s working for him, but I don’t see it. I couldn’t do it that way.”

I also learn a lot about myself by listening to other people’s preaching:

–from some scholarly, well-researched messages I have come away with a strong feeling that I needed to study better in preparation for the message. In fact, one of the finest compliments I ever received on my own preaching was a line a pastor’s wife spoke to him after they worshiped in the church I was pastoring. All she said was, “Honey, you need to study more.” He told me that with a sweet smile, leaving the impression that she’d heard something in my message that was the result of study. Any pastor wants to feel that he has spent the necessary time in the Word, digging it out, comparing, analyzing, and applying before he stands in the pulpit.

–from some of Billy Graham’s evangelistic messages I have realized I should not tack my invitation onto the end like a caboose behind a passenger train, but announce it at the front, in the middle, and then at the end.

–from listening to David Jeremiah, I realize it’s possible to be warm and gracious and personal without overdoing it and becoming silly and mushy.

–from Charles Stanley‘s sermons, I’ve realized it’s a good thing to be so immersed in the Word that when you stand before your people on Sunday, it’s not necessary (or even wise) to have notes spread out before you.

So, maybe it is a good thing to purchase someone’s CD of 30 years of sermons. But it would be a better bargain if it contains single-years of sermons from 30 different preachers.

Warren Wiersbe’s line fits here: “I milk many cows, but I make my own butter.”

Pastor, attend those conferences where a succession of preachers bring messages. Find where other denominations are holding them and slip into the back and take notes.

The results will only be good.  

by Dr. Joe McKeever
After five years as Director of Missions for the 100 Southern Baptist churches of metro New Orleans, Joe retired on June 1, 2009. These days, he has an office at the First Baptist Church of Kenner where he’s working on three books, and he’s trying to accept every speaking/preaching invitation that comes his way. He loves to do revivals, prayer conferences, deacon training, leadership banquets, and such. Usually, he’s working on some cartooning project for the denomination or some agency.
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