Around the world, we will celebrate Resurrection Day this coming Sunday. Many people in many places will tell the resurrection story in many languages. If you’re one of those proclaimers, I humbly offer these suggestions for this weekend:
- Make sure your own heart is celebrating the resurrection. Frankly, many of us take for granted the resurrection truth we celebrate. We’re trying to tell a story of hope and life when our own hearts are weary and hopeless. Spend some real time with God before you stand before your people this weekend.
- Don’t forget that some believers around the world risk their lives by telling this story. If you have the Word of God in your hand and the freedom to proclaim it without threat, you are uniquely blessed. Be grateful as you preach.
- Remember that this weekend may be the only opportunity you have to reach some of your listeners. They’re attending only because it’s Easter, and they’re not expecting an encounter with God. Don’t waste this opportunity by doing anything other than clearly preaching the Word.
- Recognize that your job is not to impress with your oratory skills; it’s to tell the story of a borrowed cross and an empty tomb. If your congregation leaves the service more impressed by you than by the living Lord, you’ve gotten in the way of the message.
- Don’t worry about finding new content. As a pastor, I know it’s hard to come up with new sermons and new approaches every Easter—but we don’t have to do that. The resurrection story never grows old.
- Read the Word aloud. Even a lot of it. None of us can tell the story of the resurrection better than the Scriptures do. So, don’t try. If your hearers remember only one thing from your sermon, let it be something directly from the Word of God.
- Call for a response when you preach, and also give your listeners opportunity to talk again next week. If you don’t call people to follow Christ in faith and repentance, your work is not complete. For those not yet ready to follow Him, let them know how to contact you later. You never know when the Spirit will work.
I will pray for you as you preach this weekend. For many, if not most of us, that will be by electronic means–but the gospel story is still the same!