Jump directly to the Content

Should I Rock the House or Preach the Word?

Ben Folds' song "Rock Star" includes these lyrics:

You need their approval

To tell you you're cool

Hey, but look how you pay for it

Give the people what they want

You've got to give the people what they want

Got to give the people what they want

Rock star

I'm a pastor and not a rock star (despite the blurring of those roles in recent years). Still, every time I retreat to the bookstore coffee shop to write another sermon I face the subtle temptation to tickle ears, to preach for approval, to be cool, and give the people what they want.

Next Sunday I have the responsibility to preach on one of the most challenging and disturbing texts in the New Testament. Matthew 7:21-23 has nothing to do with how to have a better marriage, discipline your kids, or any other felt-need people want scratched. It is a bold warning about the "many" who will be turned away from God's kingdom.

My struggle in preparing this message has not come from interpreting the text, or wrestling with theology and doctrine. ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe to Christianity Today magazine. Subscribers have full digital access to CT Pastors articles.

Homepage Subscription Panel

Read These Next

Related
Lou Huesmann: Only Part of Your Identity is Work
Lou Huesmann: Only Part of Your Identity is Work
Work is one fragment of what it means to be human.
From the Magazine
The Cohabitation Dilemma Comes for America’s Pastors
The Cohabitation Dilemma Comes for America’s Pastors
More evangelicals are living together before marriage. Church leaders struggle to respond.
Editor's Pick
What Sanctification Looks Like
What Sanctification Looks Like
The Bible’s diverse narratives help us disciple those entrusted to our care.
close