Preparation & Delivery

I’ve looked at message preparation on every post this week.

By now in the process, I have selected a title, excavated Scripture, unearthed one main point, and then attempted to bring that point to life. To this point, it’s all pen on paper (very 20th Century, I know).

My next step is actually to write up a manuscript (on a computer, not a typewriter!). I arrange my notes and outline, pray over the keyboard, put on a CD, and off I go. Within 90 minutes I have crafted a 30 minute sermon that will actually be delivered about a month from the time it was written.

But as most of you know, that manuscript never comes on the platform with me. Nor do any notes. That’s because early each morning of the week preceding the Sunday I am to give the message, I go over it. And over it. I see what works, what needs to be changed, and what needs to be added. My memory works in such a way that I can recall the order of things by “seeing” the manuscript pages in my mind’s eye while I’m giving the message.

Sometimes I forget. In the middle of a sermon. In those cases I just keep talking until it comes back to me. It usually does.

Every Saturday night, I hold my hands over the message and pray for it. I also pray for some preacher friends, that they would be windows into the very heart of God when they stand to deliver their sermon that next morning.

On recent Sundays, I have been praying that I would say things that are unplanned and not say things that had been planned . . . all according to the move of God. There are even occasions when I will hear things in the recordings of the sermons that I don’t remember saying!

I have used this same basic process for all 19 years I’ve been giving weekly messages. The same will be true for this Sunday’s talk, “Secret Pains.” It’s all part of the provocative series, Top Secret, which you can find more about at

The February series, to be called Without Limit, is threatening to upend all my conventional message preparation. I’ll let you know . . .