I typically script my sermons. It keeps both my time and topic under control. Sometimes, however, that process leaves too little room for the Holy Spirit to speak through me. That is, scripting sometimes prevents the unexpected epiphany, the words that even I do not expect to come out of my mouth.
Last Sunday, I veered from my normal style and preached primarily from notes. The result was that my sermon ran nearly thirty minutes. More significantly, however, was that my sermon spoke even to me. The Holy Spirit surprised me with epiphanies and challenged me.
I discovered through preaching this sermon that though I had told myself that during the years we lived in West Virginia we were secretive about my daughter’s sexual orientation primarily to protect her; we really did so to protect ourselves. While there was some truth to protecting her, it was a secondary reason. We hid who she was and failed to talk about our joy at the love she’s found with her partner because we were afraid the church that my wife was serving as pastor would react harshly.
But the Holy Spirit spoke to me last week, nudging me to confess this past sin of self-protection while refusing to allow me to do the same again. Listen to Boldness in the Spirit using the audio player below. The text for the sermon is Acts 4:23-31.
I like what you said here., I am not an experienced sermon giver, but I have used only bare notes on the couple of times I have been called on to speak. I use notes to avoid the temptation to “read”. It is pretty awesome when it speaks to us, too. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you appreciated it. I find that sermons and other kinds of speaking are very different things. I have always used just notes in my teaching of classes and other kinds of speaking. I can’t quite explain the difference with a sermon. Maybe the length of time (15 minutes give or take) is part of it but I know when I’ve given 15 minute talks in other settings I, too, have relied on notes not scripting.