5 Things We Do Today Instead of Preaching the Word

“Never get in a habit of getting up in the pulpit when things aren’t square everywhere.”

4. Intellectualizing

“I’ve been thinking and researching this in the original languages … “

We’re supposed to love God with our heart, soul, mind and strength. And preaching that stops at the shoulders is defective preaching. It has to move me—it has to call me to action—mind, emotions and will. If you’re just preaching your theological construct, you’re blowing it.

Stop preaching the scaffolding around the Bible and preach the Word—what God actually says.

John Calvin said, “God deigns [considers it proper] to consecrate to himself the mouths and tongues of men in order that his voice may resound in them.” Your preaching is at its best when your people have forgotten you’re even standing there, and God’s Spirit is moving through you. I am afraid we’ve lost sight of this.

5. Abbreviating

“Twenty-minute sermons.”

I don’t know how it works at your church, but for us it takes five minutes to set the rig up and another five or 10 minutes to take it down. If you’re only preaching for 20 minutes, that gives you five minutes to drill. You’re not going very deep, are you? It takes some time.

Romans 10:16, Jesus said, “He who hears you, hears me.”

“He who hears you,” Jesus said, “hears me.”

Yet, there’s no pridefulness, is there? It’s so humbling. It’s a crushing weight, isn’t it? I tell people the weekly message preparation is the crucible of my sanctification. Never get in a habit of getting up in the pulpit when things aren’t square everywhere. That by itself will keep you going in the right direction. “He who hears you, hears me,” Jesus said. I love that challenge—to be that person.

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James MacDonald
James MacDonald is the founding senior pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, one of the fastest growing multi-site churches in the Chicago area reaching over 13,000 lives each weekend. Through James’ leadership and by God’s grace, a church planting ministry was formed in 2002, Harvest Bible Fellowship, which has planted more than 69 churches across North America and around the world. James also teaches on Walk in the Word, a daily radio broadcast committed to “igniting passion in the people of God through the proclamation of truth.” He and his wife, Kathy, have three adult children and make their home in suburban Chicago. James will be speaking at the upcoming Chicago Boot Camp on Sept 15.