One Sunday, in the middle of the third point of my sermon, I lost my nerve.
For two days, doubts about the usefulness of the message had whispered darkly in the back of my mind, but I pushed ahead, ever the good soldier, ever mindful that Sunday was coming.
But on Sunday, at a precise point in time, I mentally bolted! Outwardly I kept preaching—faster, I think, and, perhaps, in a lifeless manner; I was gunning for the benediction. Inwardly, though, I was AWOL. I checked out.
I had lost faith—the willful act of believing God is in the sermon, that he can use even my words. I lost my nerve.
After the benediction I made a beeline down the aisle and through the foyer to my study, without so much as a nod at an usher. I closed the door, locked it, and crumbled. Another service started in a few minutes, and I didn't know what to do. What I did, of course—what all preachers do—was preach once again, as well as I could with renewed dependence (a desperate ...1