No preacher really wants to admit this, but every Sunday morning we are just working out our own stuff with God in front of the congregation.
That sounds a lot worse than it really is. It isn't necessarily manipulative, self-indulgent, or exhibitionist. It may be the congregation's only hope for hearing God's response to their own sacred yearnings.
The best sermons are constructed not in the head but in the soul of the preacher. These are the messages that arise out of the depths of our own angst, fears, doubts, and struggles with God. When the congregation listens to a sermon they know immediately if the preacher is being spiritually honest, or if they are about to hear another detached exegetical analysis of the text. Clearly, good preaching cannot avoid biblical exegesis. But there is a difference in talking about the Word and proclaiming it. And the preacher can only proclaim the Word he or she knows, all too personally.
This doesn't mean that the preacher should always be explicit about ...1