In Conclusion: Don’t Tell People What to Do

How to Preach Real, Relevant, Relational and Revolutionary Sermons

In Conclusion: Don’t Tell People What to Do

Don’t tell people what to do.  Tell people what the Gospel says.  Tell People that God loves them.  God likes them.  Point to Jesus.
Preach the Good News you find in the text that fate has handed you by the way of the Lectionary.  Preach the questions you have found in the text, whether you have found the answers or not.  Embody the text.  Use everything in your bag of tricks to communicate the Good News in a way that requires people to listen.  Preach for Wednesday.  It doesn’t matter if people leave the church on Sunday wonder what the hell you are talking about—it is better then them not remembering anything you said.  Preach so it sticks in their mind, heart, craw, gizzard, liver, spleen.  That way their liver keeps working it out until on Wednesday out of the blue some epiphany pushes it’s way into the conscious self and ah ha can happen.  Wednesday is a good day for ah ha.
What ever you do, do not apply it to people’s lives.  Let them do that.  They are as smart as you are.  God some how was able to reveal God’s self to you.  You were some how able to hear that God loved you in such a profound way that you were filled with a desire to love God back.  If God could do this with you, chances are God can do this with other people.  If you could hear the great revelation of God’s Good News, chances are other people will be able to.
When you preach create the space for revelation.  Strive to create the possibility of epiphany.  Preaching is an act of worship.  Worship is not a set of instructions given to the people by the preacher.
Don’t tell the people what to do.  Let them figure it out.
Preach grace.  Let them apply it to their lives.  Grace stays with people longer than instructions do.

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2 Responses to In Conclusion: Don’t Tell People What to Do

  1. Obscure, eufamistic, allegory may be fun, challenging and culturally “relevant” to some of us, so, sincerely, keep your crazy and brilliantly provocative prophesy flowing. However, are still many, from every generation, socioeconomic class, and path clearing hipsters that need to hear, that “Old Time Religion”, to find that spark of the Holy Spirit that drives, and comforts and guides them on toward the promise of Grace and reconciliation. Honestly, there are a score of scores of true Christians whose asses I would like to kick, because of the way they represent their, our, my, God to the world. Some people still need to know who their “neighbor” is and that hatred and gossip are more grotesque than murder. Those people need application. A sermon can be a language class rather than a moral’s primer. It can supply words, ideas, and doctrinal Quandaries that our Seal of salvation, our teacher, the Holy Spirit, can use to expand our newness to the point that our carnal suit becomes short-sleeved, and seam splitting tight. I cannot say, “Don’t tell them what to do.” (in many, or some cases) any more than I could say, “I don’t like the flavor of Ice Cream.” Many of us have to wrestle like Jacob to find our faith, but there are still many who sincerely say, “What must I do to be saved?” “Flavor” is simply a delightful metaphor for the breadth of Grace. You, by God’s design are “Ben and Jerry’s”, praise the Lord, but don’t forget many people are enjoy and are satiated by Vanilla. And by the way, “Relevant” as a defining term of a time or style of worship is ridiculous. Who says, “Let’s redesign the Ocean to better fit our boats.

    Peace,

    Friar Falterwhack

  2. Will Deuel says:

    Please tell me that “in conclusion” does not mean you are finished! I love this blog (and bought your book because of it).

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