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Preaching to Seekers - A prayer before preaching … _by Bob Morehead_

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					   Preaching to Seekers


Source: Mike Breaux, ―Communicating
in Today‘s Reality,‖ Willow Creek, 2003

      John.chandler@vbmb.org
               First of all …
• Don‘t call them
  ―seekers‖

• Many think of
  themselves already
  as ―Christians‖
  – whether we do or not
            What we say and what they hear …

• Remember the
  ―communication wheel‖


• There is a usually a gap
  between what we intend
  to say and what spiritual
  seekers actually hear
―For the message about the cross is foolishness to those
who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is
the power of God.‖

―For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not
know God through wisdom, God decided, through the
foolishness of our proclamation, to save those who
believe.‖

―For God's foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and
God's weakness is stronger than human strength.‖



                     1 Corinthians 1:18, 21, 25   (NRSV)
      "Real deal, real meal."

1. Deal: Character of
   messenger

2. Meal:
   Content/Context of
   message
     1. Character : Be real

• Don't try to be like
  someone else.

• Great turn-offs for
  seekers: arrogance,
  show-off, pretense, lack
  of obvious attribution.
       • Leadership magazine
         cartoon: "Wife: Let's
         switch this week: why
         don't you be charming
         at home and grumpy at
         church?
              The "Gawd voice."

• Quoting Greek and
  Hebrew
   – "the real meaning of
     "comforter"...


• Christian code

• Being false, pretentious,
  or someone else is
  exhausting.
B). Maintain a healthy sense of inadequacy.

• All gifts flourish in the
  soil of humility.

• It is good to be
  perceived as a fellow
  learner alongside your
  hearer.

• Throw the alley-oop for
  God to complete.
C). Preach from the overflow of your
  personal relationship with God.
                  • Do you love preaching
                    or love God?

                  • Are you attending to
                    the reservoir or simply
                    going to the spigot?

                  • Live with the subject
                    and text to the point
                    that you can be taught
                    before being a teacher.
  D). Work hard with your gifts.

• Release the giftedness of others in the body
  of Christ so that you have time for preaching
  – do you fold the bulletin?


• "Study to show yourselves approved"
  – Let the Holy Spirit work through your preaching
    on Tuesday morning, not just Sunday morning.

• Winging it shows apathy to lost people.
      "Real deal, real meal."

1. Deal: Character of
   messenger

2. Meal:
   Content/Context of
   message
         2. Real Meal (Content/Context)
                 ―Let the Word speak!‖
  ―For Jesus doesn't change—yesterday, today, tomorrow,
  he's always totally himself.‖ (Hebrews 13:8, The Message)

  ―Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.‖
                                        (Luke 21:33 The Message)


―God's servant must not be argumentative, but a gentle
  listener and a teacher who keeps cool, working firmly but
  patiently with those who refuse to obey. You never know
  how or when God might sober them up with a change of
  heart and a turning to the truth …‖ (2 Timothy 2:23-24)

• Ezra reads for hours and people are changed (Nehemiah 8:18)
     1. Trust the Gospel to do its work.
―For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the
  power of God for salvation to everyone who has
  faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
                                Romans 1:16 (NRSV)


• Don't rob seekers of Truth.

• Don't neglect or avoid the guard-rails: sin,
  repentance, morality, hell. People want to know
  where the underground dog fence lines are.
We don't need another motivational speaker



    – they only have one
      story

       • the eagle who was
         raised by chickens


    – The goal is not
      better Americans but
      Christ-followers
  2. Crack open the door of your life with
     sharing the appropriate balance of
       struggle and transformation.

• But don't just share
  your struggles.

• Make sure no hero is
  more than 97% good.
3. Build and utilize a team around you - it will
   enhance your creativity and connection.

                         • You'll get a lot of
                           "footprints" emails
                           but also some good
                           stuff
                           – especially if you will
                             coach them
 4. Freely use the creative ideas of others.

• Freely acknowledge
  borrowing - it enhances
  your credibility as a
  thorough researcher
  and humble learner.

• Focus especially on the
  good series of others
  and good titles.
5. Be in touch with contemporary culture.

                     • Don't use any
                       canned preacher
                       stories

                       – "on a windswept hill
                         in 1912 ...―
                       – Cutesy sermon
                         websites, mags
  6. Weave transformational stories.

• Your story -> their story -> God's story.

• "What is most particular is most general."

• Share "yeah God!" stories.

• Buttrick: phenomenological formation of people
  through moves in consciousness.
   – When you share authentic stories of people who are being
     transformed, it maps for others how it can happen in them.
                7. Pick Five.
• Up front, write down
  the names of five real
  seekers who might or
  could be hearers.

• Ask: "what would they
  ask?"

• Intelligibility: Level the
  playing field so that
  they are not shut out by
  code words.
   8. Don't be afraid to deal with issues
   (seekers care), but don't be political.

• The apostles never
  preached, "If we
  could just get rid of
  Nero ..."

• If seekers take the
  trouble to show up,
  they want to know
  what you have to
  say
         9. Check your 'tude.
• Do you love seekers? Do you know
  any? Hang out with any?

• Get a seeker to evaluate your
  message.

• Do you hold up people like Eminem
  as negative examples?
  – creates "us vs.them" mentality
  – plus, they matter to God,
     • and that's what you want to communicate.
A reminder about ‗tude ….
             • Rock on desk:
               reminds me of …

               – the rock I crawled
                 out from under and

               – not to throw stones.
10. Make the ask.
         • "Because it's true."

         • Preaching like it's the
           last time - Life is short
           and Jesus is the way.

         • The #1 characteristic of
           those who connect with
           seekers is that they
           speak with passion.
           Where there is passion,
           you will find a way.
The Invitation?
  • ―Yes, and …‖

 • Vary approach
       • Time in service
        • Classic 3-fold
   • Open beyond service
     • Beyond extroverts
        • Not always?!
     A prayer before preaching …
                             (by Bob Morehead?)

―O God, don‘t let the pulpit call me       Strip me of all pride, all
   to the sermon; let the sermon              cleverness, all showmanship,
   call me to the pulpit.                     all salesmanship. Deliver me
                                              from reliance on suaveness,
Before I break the bread of life, let         education, academics,
   it break me. Wash my heart                 personality, notes, canned
   and lift the iniquity there.               quips and celestial cliches.


I want to preach, yes,                     Let me speak with the humility of
  hemorrhage, under the divine                Moses, the patience of Job, the
  anointing.                                  wisdom of Paul, the passion of
                                              Peter, and the authority of
                                              Jesus Christ.‖
                Prayer before Preaching         (continued)




―Lord, make my preaching               Let self be abased,
   clear, not clever;                     Christ be exalted,
   passionate, not pitiful;                     the cross be central,
   urgent, not usual;                     and the plea be with passion.
   meaty, not murky.                   May my eyes never be dry.

Let me disturb the comfortable and     Just now, Lord, take me out of
   comfort the disturbed.                 myself. Usurp anything I plan to
                                          say when it‘s in the way of your
Let it warn the sinner,                   message.
   mature the saint,
   give hope to the discouraged, and   Here I am, Lord. I am your vessel.
   ready for heaven the whole                                 Amen.‖
   audience.
Preaching to Seekers



        John Chandler
       www.rasnet.org
   John.chandler@vbmb.org

				
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