It’s only Saturday and I already know what the preacher is planning to preach on tomorrow morning – how? Because it’s Sue’s (my wife) turn to preach tomorrow.
When you see someone preparing a sermon you start to realise the amount of effort that they put into it. It’s not as simple as just chucking some words down and hoping that it’s what God wants you to say.
There are times at work when I could present for an hour without needing any preparation, I know my subject and I know what needs to be said in a given context. Preaching isn’t like that, preaching is about hearing something from God and bringing that.
Even when we are doing a series I know that the preachers are all trying to bring the thing that they believe God would want them to say.
There’s a challenge in this preparation to those of us who are going to sit and listen. If this person is going to say something that God wants to be said; is that the way in which we listen to it. I am sure that if I knew that God had sent a special envoy to say something specifically to me I would take full attention of what they have to say. Is that the way we treat the preachers?
Jonah was given a message to bring to Nineveh. He hated the people from Nineveh, and with good reason, they were awful. But God had a message for them and he wanted Jonah to deliver it.
Jonah ran away, but God had other plans and eventually Jonah was back in Nineveh.
From the accounts in the Bible it doesn’t sound like Jonah was a great orator, he wasn’t funny, he didn’t soften them up with a witty story, he just brought God’s message.
"Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned."
That’s apparently all he said, not that great a sermon really, but it was a message from God and the people heard it and changed.
If you are going to church tomorrow who are you expecting to hear from?