Preach Magazine Issue 1 - Creativity and innovation in preaching - Page 20

20 INTERVIEW JS That is quite a statement in itself. I wonder how many of us would say the same thing. Tell us about that one sermon that made a lasting impact. A board member of the school, very wealthy, owned a large orange juice company that was later sold to Coca-Cola. Each week one of his trucks pulled up and we students would unload crates of orange juice, which he provided free to the school. We practically worshipped this man, our source of fresh orange juice, so when he spoke in chapel that day we paid rapt attention. You may have heard this phrase: ‘to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted’. I’m impressed by the two-edged sword Jesus used in his own teaching. He pricked the consciences of the proud, the self-righteous, the wealthy. At the very same time, he brought comfort to those who were vulnerable and hurting. If a preacher can do that... well, he or she is following the Jesus style. IN MY WRITING I LOVE TO HIGHLIGHT CHRISTIANS WHO SERVE IN OUT OF THE WAY PLACES, WITHOUT MUCH ACCLAIM, BECAUSE I HAVE FOUND THEM TO BE THE MOST DEEPLY FULFILLED PEOPLE I KNOW. An Italian immigrant, he spoke with a thick accent, and clearly had little experience in public speaking. To our shock, he spent that service telling us about his greatest failure as a businessman. After a severe winter in Florida, he cheated by adding sugar to his pure orange juice, against government rules. I’ve never forgotten that lesson in humility and transparency. We were prepared to idolise him. Instead, we went away convicted by our own natural instincts to ‘look good’, and conscious of the times we had failed to live as we should. I’ll mention one other chapel service that just came to mind. Perhaps the most beloved teacher in the school stood up and said, ‘I have prayed and worked all week, but I’m afraid I have no word from the Lord for you today.’ He then dismissed us! Again, a lesson in humility and transparency. JS The cynic in me would say it might have also been a lesson in how to get away with showing up to preach when you haven’t prepared… What do you think should be the main goal of a preacher in a church setting (aside from actually preaching, which perhaps isn’t a given after all)? LWPT8173 - Preach Magazine - Issue 1 v3.indd 20 Philip Yancey’s new book, Vanishing Grace, is out this autumn. In it he explores how the church has failed in its mission to dispense grace, what communicates best to a culture running from faith, whether the gospel is in fact good news, and how we as Christians can be heard amongst all the other voices lobbying for support. 17/10/2014 12:53:48