Every now and again, someone urges me to preach more from the heart. I get what they want. I do. I can be too academic. I can get too complicated. I don’t always seem as passionate. Some weeks, I seem more rooted in my manuscript than others.
What they often want is to see me speak passionately, decisively, and usually without notes. And even though the passionate sermons they describe me preaching were usually preached from a full manuscript, I do take these comments very seriously. They help me to assess my preaching, to recognize places of further needed teaching and ministry, and to reflect on my own levels of self care and energies. They do affect what and how I preach, in ever differing ways.
But I don’t want to speak from my heart. I want to speak from the heart of God. That’s an important distinction, and it is something that requires time, prayerful reflection, and intent consideration. I do want my heart to be God’s heart, but I know that is a work-in-progress that will not be completed in this lifetime. And that means I have a lot of me to filter out in order to zero in on God’s heart.
So forgive me, but I won’t be preaching without notes anytime soon. I think what I do is too significant to be left to my own imperfect heart. I’ll keep testing the spirits, practicing discernment, reading and studying as much as I’m able–and then I’ll try to share God’s heart as purely and honestly as I can. It’s really all I can do. Really.