Speaking of preaching without notes: I suffered a bit of a setback yesterday in my effort to do more extemporaneous preaching. I finished my year-long series on Acts last Sunday and moved into a three week Advent series on the “Fear Nots” of the Christmas narratives. This week, it was Gabriel’s word to Mary—”Fear not, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” (Luke 1:29). The switch from Acts to Advent was harder than I anticipated—no matter how I looked this passage, I just couldn’t get into it. I was frantically working on the message up to the last minute. The message was not solidly in my head, therefore, I relied heavily on notes. Kind of bummed about the setback, but learned a few lessons, including
- the importance of preparation with extemporaneous preaching in view all along.
- the lesson of advance preparation.
- that God can still use my preaching even when I don’t do it with the style I would prefer: quite a number of people commented on how helpful the sermon was.
Here is/was my outline:
FEAR NOT… TO DO GREAT THINGS FOR GOD
Theme: Frightening or difficult times are often the times that God uses to call his people to do great things.
THE GREAT THING THAT GOD WANTED MARY TO DO: TO BEAR THE SON OF GOD.
Gabriel stresses three things about Jesus:
- his position (Son of God, Son of the Most High, ruler),
- his authority (seated on Israel’s throne forever; ruler of a kingdom that will never end)
- his divine ties (the Holy Spirit will come … and … overshadow you). In short, Jesus is the promised king of the Davidic line.
GOD’S GREAT THINGS…
- … are almost always an interruption in life.
- … come in the difficult times in life
- … are not usually given to the most humanly qualified
- …ALWAYS demand faith