The Universal Life Church Seminary Sermons blog has a collection of a variety of sermons or discourses shared with us by our ministers. Please post a sermon or make a comment about any sermons you see here. To see our complete selection of sermons, go to www.ulcseminary.org
We have posted a lot of sermons from our Universal Life Church ministers. Some are Christian and some are not. You are welcome to use them or just enjoy them as you like.
Friday, April 20, 2012
The Pitfalls of Preachers
Pride: The Pitfall of Preachers
We strive for excellence in preaching, and we should--but there are dangers if we succeed.
Did you see the opening battle scene in Saving Private Ryan?
Imagine the most frightening and dangerous terrain from any war movie.
What if pride is the threat and preaching is the mission? Uh-oh, it
1. Preaching involves
speaking to others
about their lives. Of course, it can be “we” rather than just “you” (as
if you are the finished product!), but even so, there is massive
temptation to pride when being the dispenser of spiritual input.
might be effective as a preacher. This doesn’t help because you will
then receive affirmation and even admiration from people helped by your
3. You might be rubbish
as a preacher, but never fear, there are plenty of people who will be
polite and affirm your ministry anyway. False affirmation and feedback
is a frequent feature of church lobbies and doorways.
might be trained, equipped and well-informed. That might mean numerous
years of high level academic training. Or it might mean you read a book
during preparation. Either way, you may be, or perceive yourself to be,
beyond others in your knowledge. Knowledge
puffs up, careful!
5. Up-front ministry will
get kudos other ministries won’t. So you’re up front in the church.
People will talk to you and about you and they will see you and they
know you. A ridiculously low-level celebrity status awaits everyone who
steps into a pulpit. Warning!
6. What if you see lives change “under your ministry”? That’s a scary thought, since you might think you achieved that.
enemy would love to see you believing the hype. Was it Spurgeon who was
approached by a congregant and told that was the best sermon she’d ever
heard, only to reply, “The Devil has already told me that.”
speaking presents continual opportunity to perform, or as we might say
to children, “show off.” Listen to me, see what I know, watch as I
impress you with my Greek, or cultural awareness, or
translation critique, or ministry experience, or name drop, or …
9. You are not yet glorified, so
your flesh is still pre-programmed with a prideful operating system. So
you are not immune to any of this.
may find it hard to have genuine close friendships since you are in a
position of influence, so you will be lonely and vulnerable while
everybody affirms and endorses your spirituality.
may find yourself, or put yourself, in a separate spiritual category to
everyone else. Sort of a clerical bubble that promises immunity from
spiritual struggle, but guarantees a greater exposure to the attractive
fruit of temptation.
12. There are probably a dozen more reasons that pride may be lurking behind every pew as you stand to preach.
To be honest, I think the terrain looks absolutely
frightening, terrifying, a deadly terrain.
The only way to go there is in absolute reliance on God!