18d Mayan Theater - Facade - Blade Sign (E)
Image by Kansas Sebastian via Flickr

The wife, the intern and I went to check out Mosaic at the Mayan a little while ago.
I personally love going to worship at Mosaic. Their atmosphere is unique, considering worship is held at a night club. But more than that, their praise is incredible. They have incredible musicians leading worship. And on top of that, the messages are really thought provoking.

On this occasion, Erwin McManus was preaching. I’ve only heard Erwin speak once, and that was at a conference. I was really excited that Erwin was preaching. But along with that excitement (unfairly) came anticipation and expectation.
I better be floored.
And I have to admit, more than listening heart, my heart was more in a evaluative mood. Not necessarily to critique, but to see how he does and what he does.

But within a few moments, he had me engaged and I forgot about my expectations and anticipations. I wasn’t studying him or evaluating him, I was listening to him and was on the journey that he had us all on with his message.

I think the message was over 40 minutes, but it didn’t feel like it.

Afterward the worship, we went to get some food, and he still had us engaged in his sermon. It was the main topic of our dinner conversation.

I realized what a real powerful and good sermon is like.
It has the people engaged during the message. So much so, we’re not aware of it’s duration. There’s no lagging. There’s no looking at our watches. We’re fully caught up in God’s story in/through him.

The message pushed us, pulled us, and challenged us without beating us up or making us feel guilty.

Then after the worship, his message still had us talking. We weren’t talking about Erwin, but we were talking about his message and what preached to us, what challenged us.

It was challenging to me as a preacher and refreshing to know that there are people out there who haven’t lost the “art” of preaching.

The other thing, the guy had his entire message memorized. He maintained eye contact throughout his entire message.
I was wondering/looking for a way to transition to preaching from an iPad. But then, I realized memorizing the message is a far more powerful way of delivery than figuring out which is a better preaching tool, the iPad or paper manuscripts. I think not constantly referring to your notes allows for a more intimate way of sharing the message.

Stories have a way of engaging us. Everyone appreciates a good story. There’s no other greater story than God’s message of love and transformational grace.
Therefore, I believe it is a travesty that we often times we hinder God’s story in/through us and our churches because we don’t do our best in preaching and preparation leading up to preaching.

Sermons don’t have to be boring.
Sermons don’t have to be a time-filler.
In fact, they shouldn’t be.

Our listeners of our sermons deserves more.
God deserves more.

One thought on “Preaching

  1. Yes!!! That is exactly what a sermon should feel like, Pastor Joe.

    If you want to hear an exceptional Korean preacher, attend worship at East Whittier UMC. Pastor Daesun Chung preached at our former church in Lakewood. His sermons always gave me a lot to think about. In fact, I have a binder full of his sermons, and I often reread them for spiritual food.

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