"Anyone can preach a sermon. It takes a man of God to preach a message."
These were the words of one of my professors in college, and they are something I have never forgotten. Too often I'm afraid I preach sermons. Let's be honest; it's a lot easier. I can whip out a sermon on any topic, passage or Bible story you want in very little time. It will be coherent and applicable. I'm not trying to brag. I want to school for this stuff, taking two years of Homiletics. I have listened to people preach with an ear toward not just content, but preparation and delivery. I read articles and books meant to help me become a better preacher. I spend 12-15 hours every week preparing the content and delivery of my sermons. More than anything else, I believe God has called me to preach, and has therefore equipped me to do so. And frankly, I think it has worked.
But preaching a sermon isn't the problem. As my professor said, anyone can do that. Preaching a message...now that's hard.
A message isn't just truth; it's timely truth.
A message isn't just truth; it is truth which is needed.
A message is a sermon, but more than that, it speaks directly into people's lives.
Perhaps this is what people mean when they talk about the difference between a preacher and a prophet. Maybe I need to lean more toward seeking to speak directly into people's lives more. I don't know. What I do know is that in messages, it is much more about what the Holy Spirit does in me through the text than what I do with the text. Maybe that should tell me something.
This reminds me of a quote from A. W. Tozer.
“The scribe tells us what he has read, and the prophet tells
us what he has seen…We are overrun today with orthodox scribes, but the
prophets, where are they?” A. W. Tozer