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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Praise of a Long Season of Preparation

One of the reasons I love what I do is the effect that the effort to prepare to preach has on me. This work of rigorous studying is both incredibly challenging and deeply precious. By God's grace, a huge amount of the time of my preparation in scripture is a real encounter with God through his word that leaves me in a very different state than where I began. I think that my unusual path to my current role may have contributed positively to my approach to study.  It seems possible that if I had served as a pastor from the very beginning of my ministry that I may have developed bad habits in sermon preparation that caused it to become something I just had to get done. As it happened, the opportunities came slowly, especially in the early years. Then in the last 15 or so years, I began preaching about 20 times per year. That was enough to develop experience and confidence but still left plenty of time for reflection on the experience and continued tweaking of the process. Now I have the incredible blessing and huge responsibility to stand before people weekly. I'm very, very grateful for God's grace to me in calling me to do this.

This quote below gives a glimpse into what preparing to preach is supposed to be like and by God's grace often is for me.
As preachers of the Word, then, we begin by receiving the Word as it is "preached" to us. We will preach to the minds of the sheep as we allow our own minds to be preached to. That means that during our preparation, we come to the text less interested in what we will be saying about the text to others the next Lord's Day and more interested in what the text is saying to us on that day. (italics mine)

quote is from R. Albert Mohler Jr.;James Montgomery Boice;Derek W. H. Thomas;Joel R. Beeke;R. C. Sproul;R. C. Sproul Jr.;Sinclair B. Ferguson;Don Kistler;Eric J. Alexander;John Piper;John MacArthur. Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching (p. 97). Kindle Edition.

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