I remember listening to a preacher a few years ago and walking away with a single thought… hmmmm. No need to wait for some big reveal, that was the only thought I could come up with… hmmm.
I know that ‘hmmm’ is not much of a thought, but if I could be very honest, it wasn’t much of a sermon.
I know I sound rude, judgmental, close-minded, arrogant, yadda, yadda, yadda; but before you judge me take a look at a snapshot of the message I am talking about.
The preacher claimed to be able to tell us how tall God was….?
Here is how he came to this special revelation:
- Using the Hebrew measurement of a “span” as gauged from the Old Testament
- Comparing the measurement of how tall horses were by span measurement
- Combined with the evidence in Isaiah (chapter 40, verse 12 to be exact) that God measured off the heavens by the span of His hand
- Then extrapolating the anthropomorphic size of a humanoid body as derived from the known proportional relationship between handsize and stature…
- He shared with us that God was like 10 foot someting.
Okay, first of all… hmmm (now you understand, right?)
Second, a ten foot tall guy is an impressive dude, but a pretty puny God.
Third, even if he was right (but lets not get into that), who cares? What would this knowledge mean to me, or anyone else on this spinning blue ball.
Again I must say…hmmm…
Obviously, there is a problem. But, it’s not a problem with a single sermon, or a sermon giver. It’s much larger than that.
The problem is with the expectations of modern preaching. For example, ‘successful’ and acclaimed pastors are often complimented with phrases like “That was amazing, I’ve never heard anything like that before.” Or, “I have never thought about that passage like that!”
Almost never has a preacher been complimented in this way: “I have heard that same message a thousand times before from a hundred different pastors, thank you for being faithful.”
Believe me, as a preacher, that never happens.
People today like novelty, the new and the unique. The only problem with that is we have been writing about, praying about, teaching and preaching the Scriptures for thousands of years.
That being said, if you come up with something new, you’re probably wrong.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
We need to celebrate truth, not the novel. We must value the real, not just the creative. We stand on the eternal Word of God, not the temporary fad of man.
If you’re a preacher… preach with power, passion, fire and creativity, but never feel compelled to be unique. That was Jesus’ job, not yours.
If your a sermon hearer… be hungry, be diligent and applaud the gifts God has given those in leadership, but don’t chase something new. The Gospel that was then is the Gospel that is now.
If your a seeker… be open, be keen and be real, but don’t judge the truth by the weirdos on the fringe (by the way, thats good advice for lots of arenas in life). There is truth and you can find it.
“Preach not because you have to say something but because you have something to say.”