I have been preaching for about 35 years but today I did something I have never done before. I tore up my sermon before I had preached it! ( I nearly always tear up my sermons after I have preached them)
I was on holiday last week and dutifully prepared the passage before I went away ,writing it out in full as I have always done ,though I frequently depart from the written script.
When I got back from holiday I got the script out and although it read okay it seemed to lack a great deal of passion and not to convey the truths I very much wanted to share. Somehow the words didn't seem to live!
I then went back to the passage read it again and again,prayed like crazy throughout the service until the time came to preach.
I had decided not to tell the church that I had done this as I thought it could be a complete disaster.
However when I got up the words flowed more easily than normal and I certainly had more favourable comments than I had for a very long time.
I have nearly always read widely around my sermon,and written it down and in my younger days confess to having practiced in front of a mirror! (other people play air guitar, I preached sermons-how sad is that?)
I even went through a stage of going down to the church building early on Sunday mornings in order to rehearse the the sermon I was to deliver at 11am to empty pews .Do other preachers do this or was I the only one?
So preaching, with preparation but without note,s worked for me and hopefully for the church this morning.
I wont always do it but at some point I will do it again!