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How to Preach to the Heart

Paul, in essence, tells the Colossians early in the first chapter of his epistle, “Take a look at yourselves! There is very good reason to put your hope in the Gospel, the word of truth, because it is at work in you and you are not the same people that you used to be!” Paul says to the church at Colossae that a really good reason to believe that the Gospel is worth putting your hope in is to stop and look at the fruit that it bears in your lives. I do not know that we do this often enough.

To the Colossians, Paul says, “Look what the Word is doing in your midst!” Undoubtedly God’s Word is doing wonders in the midst of your people as well.

As a preacher, help your people see how people have come to know God. Tell the stories. Help them to see how struggling people have been given power from God, how defeated people are having prayers answered by God, and how drifting people have been given a calling by God. With proper permission, tell their stories. Let them see the power of God’s Word is active in their midst.

People are wondering where they can put their faith, in what can they place their hope, and to what can they give their lives. By preaching for their hearts, as well as for the head and the hands, lives will be changed with the power of the Gospel, and faith and hope will grow within your community of faith!

(This article previously appeared at WorkingPreacher.org, and is used by permission)

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John is Senior Pastor of First Lutheran Church of Richmond Beach Seattle, WA. He was raised in southwestern Minnesota. He graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.