So, the day comes. It’s Easter Sunday—one of the most important preaching events any pastor has all year long. How do we embrace that moment of powerful opportunity? I can only tell you from my experience how I would prepare my heart for that special day.
First, during the week, do your usual study and preparation. If your study habits and skills are solid, stay with that routine, which can be comforting—but don’t allow the message to be routine.
Second, on Saturday morning, go to the church or somewhere quiet to be alone with the Lord and with the message you’ve prepared. Pray for the people who will be attending, for the particular needs they bear, and for the grace of God to be embraced by those in need of eternal life.
Third, spend some time by yourself on Saturday evening (While in the pastorate, I actually did this every week, but with more intentionality on Easter eve). Think about the events of the cross and the suffering of Christ, meditating on the love represented in His sacrifice. Ponder the experience of the women as they approached to tomb and then ran to tell Jesus’ men that He had risen. Take in the glory of it all. Then spend some time in quiet reflection and worship.
On Sunday morning, go to the church early and work through your notes so that they are so deeply entrenched in your heart and mind that the message flows freely from your heart to the hearts of the people. Then, when the time comes, lay it all on the proverbial altar.
I know there is nothing terribly novel about these ideas, but they brought me the level of focus I needed. Once the service was over and we went home, I returned to my quiet place with the Lord. I prayed that I would have a clear conscience about doing my very best for the Lord and that my words had been an expression of my love and gratitude to Him.
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