The Senior Adult Bible Conference has concluded and now I want to do a review of the process that went in to the preparation and delivery of the message.
Having been a part of this Bible Conference for three years, now, I look forward to it more every year. This year was no exception. When I was asked to be a part again this year, my first thought was, what does the Lord want me to say? To preach for the Lord is to speak that which He would say if He were present in His earthly body. That is such an awesome responsibility. It genders many questions such as, Where are the people at in their lives? What does the Lord have planned that they need to prepare for? What problems are people struggling with? What doctrine needs to be clarified? Etc.
And so it begins. How do you discover the mind of God, for He alone knows where we are and what is ahead? This necessitates prayer. I never know until He reveals it to me so I have to go to Him as ask. Sometimes it takes a lot of self-examination to make sure that there is nothing in my life that will hinder the message from being understood properly.
Once the receiver (me) has been properly prepared, then comes the receiving. I make it a point that I never single out individuals, but stick to the principles laid out in the Bible. It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to do the job of convicting and applying. It is my job to properly present, clarify, and explain the Scriptures. Each message is unique as to who is there, the times, the need, etc. This combination of events has never happened before and it will never happen again and that is why you can never preach the same message twice, though you can present the same truths, repeatedly.
The next step is the selection of the Scripture. There are a number of places in the Bible that a specific Doctrine, truth, circumstance or other application can be found. I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and let Him direct me to the place He wants to speak from. After all, it is His job to direct me into all truth. He does it in many ways. Sometimes He uses circumstances, but more often than not He will bring a particular Scripture to mind repeatedly, or show me a truth about that Scripture that I simply must share with others. He works in many ways that I do not understand but I trust Him and His leading.
The final step of preparation is the soaking in the message. That is reading and rereading, reviewing, listening for the still small voice that I have come to recognize by many years of hearing. It does to me what happens to food when you marinate it in a specially prepared mixture of different flavorings. The preacher must receive the message first as the Scripture says, they that preach the gospel, must live of the gospel. Only then am I ready to preach. How long does it take? The answer is all your life.
Then we come to the delivery of the message. Nerves are present, the mouth is dry even if you just took a drink of water, the mind races, you are introduced, and you begin to speak . . . It seems that I always forget some details that I intended to include and I add a few things that I never thought of in my preparation. How was the timing? Did I accentuate the point correctly? What could I have done better? Etc. This is all part of the preparation of the next message.