Preaching to a high tech, video-savvy, visual world greatly impacts the way I prepare every Sunday. Even as I am sitting in my office today crafting my sermon, I am thinking about that very thing. I use the acrostic EPIC when prepping... Experience, create an environment where they feel something. Participate, give them many chances to participate with me, ask questions, have them do physical actions, make them a part of the message. Image Rich, use images that connects with truths in the text, whether a prop, illustration, video, or my attire. Connect, make sure the message connects with their world, is it relevant, is it real, link their life to the text?
I must admit it is hard work, and I often pray and beg the Holy Spirit for creativity. Some days I am worn out mentally, trying to make these principles come alive. Most aren't willing to spend the extra time here for various reasons. But I have come to realize, that I must do this, to make the message as compelling and hopefully life-changing as possible.
There have been many Saturday nights that we have made runs to the supermarket or dug through the toy box and garage for that perfect illustration. Some have asked me where the ideas come from? I pray and ask God for creativity and at the most inopportune times it often comes.
I also carry a digital voice recorder, keep notepads on my night stand, and constantly jot down stuff that comes my way. So here I am again preparing for this new series , where we are trying to put the Merry back in Christmas.
Oh yeah a normal message, after exegesis, study, pondering, dreaming, praying, thinking, and writing, takes a minimum of 20 hours a week for me. Every week I pray, that somehow this message will point people to Jesus, rescue a hopeless person ,or cause someone to fall in love with God's WORD! I can't wait to see what the Holy Spirit brings to mind this weekend.
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