Chuck Terrill: A snowstorm sermon
Sunday’s snowstorm reminded me of an exchange I had with a church member.
Most preachers receive an ample supply of good natured ribbing, especially in regard to the sermons they preach. Such a case occurred the weekend when a good Christian man said, “Pastor, that snowstorm we had yesterday reminds me an awful lot of your sermons.”
Of course, I fell for it. “How can a snowstorm remind you of the sermons I preach?” I asked.
He was ready for me. “Like a snowstorm, we never know how long they will last or how deep they will be.”
I laughed and he laughed. But there is probably more truth to his analogy than most preachers would care to admit. There are sermons that seem long, dull or irrelevant. Sometimes, all three! There are two necessities for change: we need better preaching and we need better listening.
I am reminded of the story of a dear saint of God who was challenged by her friend. “What did that preacher of yours preach about on Sunday?” the friend asked. “For the life of me, “I can't remember,” said the saint. “What good does it do you to go hear the man preach if you can't remember what he preached about,” prodded the friend. “I can't remember what I ate for dinner on Sunday,” replied the saint of God. “But I know for a fact that it fed and nourished me.”
I have been preaching sermons for over 40 years, now. I admit that I am certain that I have preached my fair share of “forgettable” sermons. Even so, people continue to report that they are growing in faith and in knowledge. Wherever they attend church, those who listen to anointed preaching continue to be fed, to the glory of God, who is the giver of the Bread of Life.
A people hungry for the Word of God and its application to real life will inspire good preaching. Then, good preaching will evoke a response — sometimes appreciation, at times commitment, and occasionally disagreement. But no one can remain the same where the gospel is being preached.
I am lobbying for “snowstorm preaching.” A little longer and a little deeper won't hurt us a bit.
“Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Timothy 4.2).
Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.