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Preaching can be intimidating, especially if we're preparing for the wrong group of listeners.

Like a rnan about to face a firing squad, I was sitting in the front row of the sanctuary waiting for the soloist to finish. In a few seconds I would once again stand before the congregation to preach. Fear gripped me. This fear was not pre-performance butterflies or nervous jitters. No, this fear was deeper and more debilitating and it was weekly.

On the one hand my head told me, You've done this for thirteen years, and the church has grown, and many people say they've benefited from your preaching.

But my gut said, Do you realize you have absolutely nothing new to say? These people are expecting something. They won't tolerate a boring monologue. You'll stand up there and make a fool of yourself. What could you possibly say that these people haven't already heard, and from far better preachers than you!

Even before I would start my weekly sermon preparation, my dread would nearly paralyze my study. All week I would live in such apprehension, I was emotionally worthless to my family. Every ...

From Issue:Spring 1992: The Message
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