A good friend from the Pentecostal tradition, in which people will often stand up and speak very authoritatively to the congregation, told me a glorious story. According to my friend, a man once stood up and declared, "Thus saith the Lord: Even as I was with Abraham when he led the children of Israel through the wilderness, so I will be with you." Then he sat down.
His wife nudged him and whispered something. He quickly stood back up and said, "Thus saith the Lord: I was mistaken. It was Moses."
That story captures the mystery of preaching, illustrating both the Word part and the flesh part: "Thus saith the Lord, I was mistaken."
The very words of God coming through human instruments, which would be you and me.
What an odd combination that is!
How do we prepare our souls for this task? We are very fallible people and yet we are to speak for God. Our preparation is not just getting our spiritual life "amped up" for a weekend service. It is much more a way of life: "What kind of person am I becoming so that preaching is the outflow of a certain kind of life, and it comes out of me in a way that God wants it to come out?"
This means not preparing your soul for a week of preaching, but how to prepare your soul for a life of preaching.
You speak in the Presence of God
When you look at Jesus, the line between when he's teaching, when he's praying, and when he's just having conversations gets really blurry. Whereas for me, the lines are often very distinct. I tend to compartmentalize.
When you speak in relation to another person, you have three categories: (1) you speak directly to the person, (2) you speak in front of the person, or (3) you speak in the absence of that person. In the third category, I might be talking about you or I might ...