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Max Lucado: ‘The One Thing That Has Helped Me More Than Anything Else’ as a Preacher

“The one thing that has helped me more than anything else in all these years of preaching is to get a huge head start on a sermon series.”

“If you can get a six-week study break to give you some breathing room so that you can truly just live with that Scripture or live with that story or live with that Bible character for several weeks in advance—that to me was the game-changer.”

“I acknowledge that [planning sermons so far ahead] could be a luxury that happens as the team grows. I do think it’s worth pursuing if at all possible.”

“I think knowing that this is eventually going to be presented to the publisher as an idea or a manuscript or it’s going to go to my editor…I’ll just say, you know, I’m going to put in the extra hours now and get it done.”

“I like to get a big idea for a sermon series, a theme that is a recurring theme.”

“Summarize the whole message in one sentence. That’s a great tip I was given many years ago.”

“I want to conclude with answering the question: What do I want the audience to know? What do I want the audience to feel? What do I want the audience to do?”

“I’ve always loved stories. I always have…I think I do have a natural bent towards stories.”

“I have been guilty of a story being so good that it was going to go in that sermon no matter what point I was trying to make.”

“Great stories are personal stories. There’s no comparison. Great stories are personal stories. Personal stories can never be self-promoting. They just can’t. I think I see this in a lot of pastors and I just want to take them to the side and say, ‘Hey, don’t don’t drop names, you know? Don’t don’t try to sound impressive.’”

“People call us ‘reverend’ or they call us ‘pastor’ or ”vicar, and we already have a title that elevates us. And then we’re either in a pulpit or next to a stand. We’re on a stage, we’re on a platform. So everything about us says, we’re high and you’re low. We don’t mean that to be the case, but it just is. We need to do everything we can to counterbalance that. So it’s essential that we poke fun at ourselves.”

“Be honest about your own pain, [but] don’t load every sermon with all your problems.”