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Sermon Workshop: Preaching Hot Potatoes

A Way to keep the pressure on the listener and off the speaker.

Joe McKeever is known for his cartoons. Joe, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Kenner, Louisiana, has an equally artful way of preaching controversial issues without making people mad.

Pastors must confront people about sinful attitudes and actions. Isn't that part of the job?

Yes. An older pastor told me once that people are mired in quicksand. The pastor throws a rope, but if he jerks the rope to lift them out it'll break. Slow, steady pressure is the way to lift them up. Sometimes direct confrontation—the harangue—is like jerking the rope.

While the Civil Rights movement was going full speed, I preached that God, who made all people, seemed to be colorblind, and demanded that we be also. Not a revolutionary message today, but at the time it stirred a response from my Deep South congregation.

I've wished the Lord would deliver me from the need to preach on such subjects. I have had to address homosexuality, child abuse, abortion, politics, divorce. What God did was to deliver me from ...

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