Union Ridge Church

Friday, April 23, 2021

by Reverend Dan on April 23, 2021

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.

                                                                                    1 Corinthians 3:6-7


Someone once said, “If you want to preach TO the heart, you need to preach FROM the heart.”


I often think about that statement when I’m preparing a sermon. Before I can convey any message to you - no matter how impressive my style is, how articulate my words are, how passionate my plea is , or how incredibly good I look standing up there (really, Rev. Dan?!) - the truth is that unless my heart has been reached by the message first, the sermon won’t be what God intended it to be.


I am not a motivational speaker. If at some point my words do motivate, that’s just a by-product of the message, not the messenger.


I am not a performer. If you are simply entertained by the sermon, you might as well be watching your favorite TV show.


What I am is a vehicle. God puts His message in my heart, and if I am a willing listener, then that message moves me and changes my heart. It is only if that happens that I can achieve what He has called me to do. My job is to take that message and transport it into your heart. It is not me that is changing anything. That is God’s work. I’m just driving the “message truck” and making the delivery.


In trying to be a preacher that does that, I have found the one thing that is needed most of all, believe it or not, is transparency. If you can’t see and hear and feel my heart come through in a message, I’m not sure it will seep into your heart. If I am listening to God, I am not worried about me, but how that message has touched me will be revealed without me even trying. Every time I preach it must be evident that I have been humbled and healed and comforted and lifted up by the same truths you are hearing from me. God preaches to me . . . and I plagiarize that sermon and bring it to you.


I believe there are two types of preachers: heart moving, and heart manipulating. The first does his or her absolute best to hear God and stay true to His Word. The second plays on emotion and instead of worrying about the message, all he or she worries about is how they are received and accepted and perceived. The messenger is what is important to them. Their humility is fake and soon God’s message becomes secondary to their insecurity.


I pray that as you hear me preach, or read my writings, you remember that I am just a vessel. If a sermon or devotional or Bible study is especially good, it is because God got through this thick skull of mine and I got the message. If not, my spiritual GPS must have been on the skids, and the delivery was never made.


Give God the glory if something I say or write moves you, for the entire message is His. My job is to not crash the truck carrying it on my weekly rounds.       


“Father thank you for Your Word and the times it settles in our hearts. Help us all to know that just like every other good and perfect gift, that Word comes from You.  In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”