The most effective way to prioritize preaching is to start preparing your sermons early in the week. Be consistent with this. Unless you are preaching on Sunday nights, this ideally could begin on Sunday afternoon (after your nap). If you balk at studying on the sabbath, you should relax and enjoy the sabbath on another day that you are not working.
Although no two burnouts are the same, as I’ve counseled increasing numbers of Christians through burnout, I’ve noticed that most of them have one thing in common: there’s a deficit of grace. It’s not that they don’t believe in grace. Many of them are well-grounded in “the doctrines of grace.” Many of them are pastors and preach grace powerfully every week. The “five solas” and the “five points” are their theological meat and drink. Yet grace is missing in five vital areas. There are five disconnects between theological grace and their daily lives.
What would happen if you found out that all of your secrets were about to be on display for the world to see? Would you feel the need to run and hide? Would you be okay with what was about to be revealed? Would you have to explain yourself because what you had presented in the past wasn’t the truth?
Joe Carter explains an important story.
Whether we realize it or not, this is the situation in which Americans Christians find ourselves. We are in a tower of Babel culture. Like those working on the infamous skyscraper in Genesis 11, we suddenly find ourselves surrounded by people who don’t understand us and who we don’t understand.
But our penchant for earning paralyzes us before God’s offer of true grace. We don’t know how to receive favor without working for it. And so we subtly (or not so subtly) trade away the one true gospel because we prefer to work for and serve God as slaves (or at least as employees), and not as sons. We don’t feel safe letting him do all the work, and earning gives us some semblance of control. We simply can’t believe eternal security and everlasting life could be offered as a gift.
We have created cultures of activity in many of our churches instead of cultures of transformational discipleship. There are so many important facets of church life to emphasize. Where should we put our greatest emphases?
A favorite from the archives (and, in keeping with the season, a subject you’re undoubtedly going to see on your favorite social media channel in the weeks to come):
But for the moment, can we drop “the war on Christmas” schtick, please? Companies aren’t declaring war. We are. The barista at Starbucks isn’t putting seeds of doubt into your drink, along with your extra shot. We might be, though, if we actually think Jesus is going to answer us on this with a hearty “Well done, good and faithful servant.”