I had the opportunity to preach last night. Since I answered God's call to preach a couple of years ago, I have done a lot of studying and reading on expository preaching. I don't get many opportunities at the moment, so I savor each one.
The text I used last night was Matthew 9:35-38. I have blogged previously concerning this text so I won't continue those comments. More so, I am , I guess, evaluating the experience. First off, I don't think I bathed the sermon in enough prayer. Of course, when do you know that it is enough? Still, I may have relied less on my notes and more on the Holy Spirit during the message.
In preparation, I think I exegeted the passage well, studied commentaries and read other sermons (Parker, MacLaren, Spurgeon). I got to use my new found Greek skills to parse and translate the text. The emphasis of Christ's Compassion was God's, not mine. When I first looked at the text, I wanted a missionary sermon. I was quickly reminded that the command was to beg the Lord of the harvest for more workers. The command to go would come later in Matthew. I could hear my pastor saying, "Preach the text. If it ain't there, don't preach it!"
I wrote out the sermon, then typed out the manuscript, then typed out notes and formatted it in a way that I could leave the page in my Bible. I practiced it vocally 3 times. Once at home and twice at church.
The other times I have preached, I left the Bible on the podium. Basically because I had a large study Bible that seemed to weigh 8 pounds and got heavier the longer I held it. For Christmas, I bought a smaller version of the translation I like with no study notes and wide margins. It weighs about a pound and much easier to hold in my left hand. That is how I preached last night, with the Bible in my left hand. Then I was free to move around the stage and not tied to the podium. Now, I am still getting used to this, so I didn't wander too far, but I had the sense of freedom.
I did sense the presence of the HS as I preached and my main prayer before the service was that Christ would be seen and not me. Public speaking is still fairly new to me (I have done a lot of acting, but that is totally different) and I am very conscious of hesitations, "uh", and the like. I thought I did a much better job last night in that regard. If this was a preaching class at seminary, I would give myself a B- for the overall scheme of things. There is much more to learn, get used to, and polish.
My wife said I did a good job (that is what wives are for) but that I used too depressing of an illustration (also part of their job description). I thought it worked! When you are talking about people who are distressed and dispirited, there aren't any "happy" illustrations!
Now I look forward to the next chance to "Preach the Word!"