I am currently in Princeton working on my sermons for the rest of the year (and beyond!) Preparing sermon ideas this far in advance is somewhat of a tightrope walk. I have to do my best to allow the Spirit to work in determining what I should preach while keeping word my own prejudice as to what "I" want to say to the congregation at bay. Preaching the Word of God is not all about saying what I think they need to hear, but allowing the Spirit to lead me to what they need to hear. Like all preachers, I have favorite Bible stories and favorite books I like to preach from.
I actually thought this would be an easier process. I have a great place to study, one of the best library's in the world at my fingertips, and the time to use both. It isn't that easy! Advent will come, Lent, Palm Sunday, and Easter will come--those are times that it is "easier" to determine the direction of my preaching. But what about the rest of the year? How do I "know" what to preach? I simply have to trust the Spirit's guidance and then be willing "down the road" to change the direction I am going if the Spirit leads me in a different direction!
I have to admit, it would be easier to "make up my own mind" and then get busy writing outlines, but that is simply not the "right" way to do it. I will have many sermons outlined before I leave Princeton, and I trust that most of them will be preached in the next year, BUT, if the Spirit leads me in a different direction when I get back to Stillwater, rest assured that I will listen!
So, how is it going? I am in the middle of a series on the book of Nehemiah right now and when I finish that, it will be up to the Spirit to show we where to go next! It is exciting, challenging, and just a bit scary, but I know that this will be a great week!