I’m still chewing on and digesting all the information and advice given in the first Preaching Rocket webcast, but there’s one piece that has really made a huge difference in my spring events. Andy Stanley quoted his dad, Charles Stanley, with a thought that has refocused me with a Divine purpose.
Dr. Stanley regularly says this to preachers and speakers, “Unless you have a burden, you are not prepared to speak.”
In all my work to become a better speaker, I’m always checking and rechecking my motive to make Jesus know rather than to make myself known. Still, its easy to get caught up in creating a captivating opening, including statistics that pack a punch, honing personal stories and crafting an ending with impact. At times I’ve gotten lost in the craft of speaking and neglected the heart.
This spring, along with all the work of creating effective, impactful messages, I’ve started with the prayer, “Lord Jesus, give me a burden for Your people and a passion for Youe message.”
Charles Stanley, in his personal teaching section, commented that he only wants to preach when he’s gotten to the point that he can’t NOT preach. That kind of passion is only gained by seeking God’s heart and asking Him to burden us with the things that burden him.
Andy told a story in which a friend was struggling to feel prepared right before he spoke. Andy urged him to picture his 18-year-old son on the back row and to imagine that his son had come with a resolution to never set foot in a church again unless God made Himself real that day. Andy’s friend preached that day with a new and brightly burning passion.
The thing is that we don’t even have to imagine that scenerio. It’s a reality in any room to which we speak. There is probably at least one desparate heart that is clinging to the hope that today will be the day. A heart that is depending on hearing words delivered straight from God into her life. A heart that can’t stand one more trite saying, “have a nice day” or hollow, pleasant message.
Not long ago, a woman came up to my friend Luann Prater after her message at a weekday women’s event. She said, “Luann, thank you for being real. I had promised myself that if I heard one more fake message from one more glossy, plastic woman that I’d never set foot in a church again.” That night, Luann’s burden and passion met the desparate need in another’s heart.
Do you have a burden?
I let that question lead me into my spring events this year, and it made a difference. I saw responses like never before as my passion met with the needs in the room.
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