Sunday is coming. I’m preaching and it’s shaping up to be a super busy week...all good things. But I knew that if I wanted my sermon prep to be less of a struggle than it had been two weeks ago, that I needed to start early. My last message took a lot out of me and I wanted to avoid that feeling if possible.
On Sunday afternoon I selected my text from the 26th chapter of Deuteronomy. It has been my practice to prayerfully use the Revised Common Lectionary to select my text for over a year now. I have an affinity for and I’m quite comfortable preaching Psalm and New Testament texts, so I’ve been stretching myself and selecting Old Testament texts unless God stirs my heart otherwise. By the time evening rolled around I had read it a few times. As the girls were watching World of Dance, I was engaging the text with my laptop open. When the show ended and it was time for them to go to bed, I had a title, outline and some meat on my sermonic bones.
Fast forward. Pray. Study Scripture. Write. Read commentaries. Jot notes while stopped at traffic lights. Study Scripture more. Write. It’s Tuesday night. My portion of the message is done and on my iPad, barring the Holy Spirit switching things up. Thanks be to God!
Last time I preached I labored—as in overexerted myself—in the preparation of the manuscript up to the moment of proclamation. It was a struggle. I was contending with God, contending with myself and contending with forces around me. But this week the words and ideas flowed. Flowing like a river. Flowing like Rapunzel’s hair. Flowing like Big Daddy Kane on Smooth Operator. Cascading and connecting in ways that excited my soul and excited me more at the prospect of preaching it.
And here is my testimony: I really didn’t do anything differently. This is just the life of the preacher. Some weeks are struggles. Just like life is sometimes a struggle. Some weeks flow. Just like life flows sometimes. And the good news is that struggle or flow, God can be glorified and the hearers blessed in all of it.
Bonus: During my drives I’ve been listening to good preaching. Nothing excites a preacher more than to hear a good preacher do their good preaching! Check out this video of Dr. Raquel St. Clair Lettsome preaching followed by a lecture on the preaching life. She talks about the contending that I wrote about above.