Quote :: Preaching

When a man prepares expository sermons, God prepares the man. Ultimately God is more interested in developing messengers than messages, and since the Holy Spirit confronts man primarily through the Bible, a preacher must learn to listen to God before he speaks for Him. – Haddon Robinson, quoted in Voice, Nov/Dec 1997, pg. 26

Poets are caretakers of language, the shepherds of words, keeping them from harm, exploitation, misuse. Words not only mean something; they are something, each with a sound and rhythm all its own… I also am in the word business. I preach, I teach, I counsel using words. People often pay particular attention on the chance that God may be using my words to speak to them. I have a responsibility to use words accurately and well. But it isn’t easy. I live in a world where words are used carelessly by some, cunningly by others. – Eugene H. Peterson, in Living the Message

The test of a preacher is that his congregation goes away saying, not “What a lovely sermon!” but “I will do something.” – Francis de Sales

Preach not because you have to say something, but because you have something to say. – Apophthegms

Ministers know they can get a lot of preaching done if they are content to thunder vagaries. If Jesus had only mentioned the traditions of men without getting into the particulars, He would not have generated the hostility He did. – Doug Wilson, (in Tabletalk, Jul 1997, pg. 59)

When the counselor prepares himself for speaking, let him bear in mind with what diligent caution he ought to speak, lest, if he is too hurried in speaking, the hearts of hearers be struck with the wound of error. – Gregory the Great

One of the proofs of the divinity of our gospel is that it has survived the preaching. – Woodrow Wilson

We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports, or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum. – A. W. Tozer, quoted in PrayerNet Newsletter, Feb. 21, 1997

People come to church to have confirmed what they think they already know. It is almost impossible, therefore, to resist making the sermon serve to confirm our experience rather than to challenge the presumption that we even understand what it is we assume we have experienced. – Stanley Hauerwas (quoted in Clergy Journal, Nov/Dec 1996, pg. 18)

A preacher joked that he had learned to preach by practicing in jails and nursing homes: “In one they can’t leave, and in the other they can’t hear!” – Ray Jones, San Antonio, Texas

Let’s stop wasting pulpit time with pop psychology and after-dinner pep talks! I don’t insist that all sermons be expository (though I expect it in heaven), but at least let them have biblical and theological content. Most parishioners will get just about all their doctrinal teaching in church. Religious publishing may be doing well, but tapes, CDs, and light devotional reading keep their cash registers ringing, not commentaries and doctrinal studies. We’ve got to learn from the pulpit. – Howard Cogswell (Wesleya Advocate, Nov. 1996, pg. 23)

If only we could realize that our purpose [as pastors] is to be caretakers. We are responsible for leading our flock to the place where the grass is green, but it is up to them to eat! We cannot be responsible for how much they digest. We cannot make people mature. – T.D. Jakes (Ministries Today, Nov/Dec 1996, pg. 24).


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