I never wanted to be a public speaker. My Junior year of high school I had to take a speech class and I refused to give an impromptu speech earning for myself the lowest grade I received in a class in my four years of high school. I was not a rebellious kid, enjoyed academics, and was willing to take a big fat zero on a speech because of stage fright.
Fast forward 20+ years and I am now in part paid to speak publicly. And the only shift I can reasonably say has occurred, is a sense of calling by God to proclaim His Word and the convinction that God Will give me the strength to accomplish anything that He calls me to do.
I still am anxious about speaking, but I also feel the pleasure of God over me when I am proclaiming His Word. But the purpose of this blog is not to merely talk about myself or my journey of becoming a preacher, but what is on my heart, is a desire to speak about the content of my messages.
What I do is not merely public speaking. It is not a pep talk. It is not strictly a motivational speech for the purpose of getting people pumped up to go out and own the next week. My goal in the pulpit is to explain God’s Text to my context. The content of my public speaking gives me comfort.
You see, much of my fear in my early life regarding public speaking, was fear of looking like a fool. Fear of embarrassing myself. Fear of being ignorant or at least looking ignorant. After nearly 300 sermons over a six year period of time, I can guarantee that all of those have come to pass. I have looked like a fool. I have embarrassed myself with wrong word choices or unintentional double entendres. I have appeared ignorant. I don’t think I’ve preached with my fly down yet . . .
But my hope, my strength, my drive for preaching, comes from the reality that I have something to share that doesn’t originate with me! This is no impromptu speech. These are not “Saturday Night Specials” that have been pulled together between 10 and midnight on Saturdays. I dig into God’s Word starting early on Monday morning and working carefully during the week.
I am grateful for a deep and rich revelation from God that is not the springboard for my motivational thoughts, but instead comprises the content, the purpose, the structure and the power of each sermon.
So at the end of the day, on those rare occasions when someone says, “good message, Pastor” I give a wink to God and we know that this is all of Him! From the discipline to keep at it each week, to the strength in my knees that keeps me standing behind that table every Sunday, to the content of the message, to the will to be God’s fool for truth, it is all from Him, for Him, and to His ends that I am a preacher of the Word of God. I have nothing else of worth to share with my people. And I am convinced that they really have no other need!