The Barnabas Files

“A word of advice: following the emotion, exhilaration, excitement or despondency of delivering our sermon, we should avoid the temptation for immediate self-evaluation of our own preaching.  After the elapse of some time it can certainly be helpful to listen to positive and negative comments from those with maturity and discernment who may offer advice.  Even here, however, we must be careful; our listeners will bring a mixed bag of moods and motives, even with the best intentions.  Accountability to a group of fellow-preachers is probably even more helpful.  Balance is needed.  Excessive praise can lead to pride; total failure ever to give praise can bring deep despondency; regular negative criticism can drag us into discouragement.  Every sermon I preach fails in some respect and a feeling of self-dissatisfaction is the norm rather than the exception in my own case.  Ultimately our responsibility begins, continues and ends in adequate preparation of sermon and self.  Beyond that, we must consciously remember that the ability of the Lord to use his own precious and powerful Word does not depend on our own positive or negative feelings about our performance in the pulpit.  Such an awareness ought to produce that combined fruit of deep assurance and deep humility in the expository preacher.
Derek Newton 
And the Word Became…..A Sermon
Fearn: Christian Focus, 2003   p245

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