After 51 Years of Preaching

I love God’s Word and since preaching my first sermon in May of 1969 I have believed in the power of God’s Word to change lives. I have preached in many places in numerous nations and have seen countless lives transformed by those who received God’s truth, applied it, and walked out the truth that they received from His truth. In the book of Hebrews God speaks of His Word as a two-edged sword working inside us to divide what is flesh and what is spirit, what is soulish and what is Spirit-led.

Paul writes about God’s Word, “…take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword of the spoken Word of God’” (Ephesians 6:18 TPT) 

Since my encounter with Jesus and being born again I have loved, read, memorized and taught this powerful Word of God. As I read and study it I take notes and research what I am reading and discovering. Many times what I am discovering ends up, in time, in a teaching. But, I am reading and studying primarily for my own growth and spiritual maturity. My journey with Jesus is always empowered by His Word and comes first. My focus has been and still is personal growth first. Sermon research is a separate event.

Several years ago the Lord spoke to me directly and then through several leaders whom I work with and, on occasion, work for that I would be preaching more by revelation. That God would show me specifically what to preach from His Word to each specific church or group of people. And, that I would be preaching by revelation, often without a lot of time to prepare. That He would reveal what to preach and how to preach it in each situation I would find myself. Preaching without a full text as led by the Holy Spirit.

So, I continue to read, study, and research but what I learn is simply the raw material that God can then use to construct the teaching – release the revelation – I am to share. So now, a lot of what I teach is by outline and not full text, and I add my own personal experiences into the teaching to illustrate and share examples of the message. So, everything has become much more personal, real, and applicable to real life. And, I am learning to wait on the Lord for the revelation of what I am to share, teach, or preach. 

A side note: so different than what I was taught in seminary and what most preachers do … the old line upon line, precept upon precept … preaching through each book of the Bible. Which is good but not what the Lord has asked me to do at this time in my ministry.

A second side note: This does not mean that there is a lot of fluff and little substance. That is not what teaching by revelation means. In fact, it is really just the opposite … lots of substance with practical examples of how the Word applies to life. 

Paul writes to the believers in the city of Ephesus … “And pray also that God’s revelation would be released through me every time I preach the wonderful mystery of the hope-filled gospel. Yes, pray that I may preach the wonderful news of God’s kingdom with bold freedom at every opportunity” (Ephesians 6:19-20 TPT)

So, as I read and study God’s Word I realize that I gaining understanding and insight into His Word. That I am learning personal truths that I must apply in my life. I am having encounters and experiences with the Lord through His Word and even more so as I apply His Word to my daily life. Then out of this knowledge, wisdom, and the personal experiences I receive, solid revelation and fresh understanding and insight happen that I can then share with others. Not theory or simply more information – but practical, applied truths that releases life and transform people. 

And, as a result my preaching has taken on a new dynamic and people are receiving God’s Word in new ways – ways that releases life and bring freedom with a fresh and new dynamic.