Partnering With God

Someone asked me this morning if I was still writing my own sermons.  The question arose because of all the material we are using in connection with The Story.  It’s a good question.  We have curriculum for our Bible classes and also for our Story Groups.  It would make sense if they also supplied the preacher with a sermon for each week.  There is a suggested sermon outline that is included with The Story.  I look it over just as I read a couple of books written to help teachers and preachers with their lessons.  But frankly, I’ve never been able to preach a sermon written by someone else.  So yes, I am still writing my own sermons.
My basic sermon writing strategy is the same as it’s been for many years: 1) Read the Scriptures, 2) Read what others have written about the text, 3) Prayerfully ponder what I might need to say, and then 4) Write the sermon.  After that my process goes something like this: 1) Rewrite part of the sermon that I don’t like anymore, 2) Complain to myself and perhaps one of my co-workers about how the sermon doesn’t seem to be coming together, 3) Rewrite some other part of the sermon, or perhaps the same part again alternating between believing the sermon will communicate well and thinking it might not, 4) Finish the sermon because it’s now Thursday and I need to get the PowerPoint together and send out the sermon to our Spanish and Deaf translators, 5) Print the finished sermon and don’t look at it again until early Sunday morning.  At this point I think about the sermon all weekend but typically don’t touch it until about 6:30am Sunday morning when I go over it in detail and mark out stuff I don’t like anymore and write things in the margin that I might remember while preaching but often forget to notice.  At 8:15am  I meet with a prayer group and pray asking God to bless the message even if the preacher’s delivery is lame and the sermon doesn’t connect well.  At 11:00 am I preach the sermon.  At 11:30 I begin to ponder ways I think the sermon worked and ways I could have done better.  This pondering will continue until Monday morning when I start the whole process over again for the coming Sunday.I was going to write something about the sermon on partnering with God, but instead I’ve given you a rehash of my basic sermon preparation.  Come to think of it, preaching is all about partnering with God.  Why God chooses to work through fallible humans like me is a question that must wait till Jesus comes.  But by faith, I trust that God works through the preaching of his word, and that is what keep me going week after week after week.

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Byron FikePreaching Minister

Byron has been the preaching minister at Clear Lake since 1999. He and his wife have three grown children, who have also devoted their lives to serving the Lord. In his personal time, Byron likes to read books, watch movies, and play with his little dog Willie. He also is an avid follower of Alabama football, having grown up in Tuscaloosa during the glory days of Bear Bryant.


One Response to “Partnering With God”

  1. avatar Tommy says:

    First posted comment!!! Woot! Any ways, sorry- getting used to the “new” website and blog site and everything else site. Bravo to the questioner! I wasn’t present to hear the question, so I’m not sure about vocal tone or facial expression. Were they being playful, sarcastic, or serious. I’m taking the question as serious, because, to be honest, I’ve wondered the very same thing. This is not a personal attack on your preaching character, but on the almost overwhelming material that has followed our journey into the Story study. I’ve pondered, in secret, if everything has been pre-approved in a package deal, are the sermons predetermined? Thank you for answering this brave souls question with full humility that comes from decades of pulpit ministry. Answering these questions allows regular folk like me understand that even though the majority of our learning material has already been pre-designed(book, class room videos, posters, flyers, etc.), our leadership has checked and rechecked what they are feeding the flock.

    I am finding it refreshing that your preaching remains autonomous, though parallel, to the Story series. Last Sunday’s sermon reminded me of the Faith Journey sermon series that you preached awhile back. I’ve never looked at Abraham as someone that I could compare myself to, until, blessed be, you enlightened me that though Abraham is a great pillar of faith, he is also very much human, just like me, making mistakes, just like me.

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