Yesterday I wrote using the notion of a thermal imaging view of the Scriptures. At the risk of overuse, I’d like to turn that thermal camera in another direction. What would people see if they saw a thermal image of you preaching?
1. Warmth of the Person. I sat through a message recently where I got the distinct impression that the preacher was cold. He wasn’t shivering. But he never smiled, not once in an hour long service. He didn’t seem warm toward us the listeners, or toward the message he preached (and consequently, even if it is uncomfortable to say it, he didn’t seem warm toward God). I recognize that different preachers have different temperaments and styles of presentation, but I suspect that subconsciously others felt the same cool temperature from the pulpit. I doubt anyone would have ever said that of Jesus’ preaching, and it is Him that we preach and represent.
2. Warmth of the Message. The content of the message says a lot about the focus of the preacher. For instance, what about the preacher I heard a while back who seemed passionate about declaring the sins of certain people in Bible times (and by implicit association, of us too). The strange thing is that the passage being preached was not pure judgment, but judgment that led into the saving work of God’s Redeemer. What was strange about that? Well, the fact that the good news climax of the passage felt like a passing reference in the conclusion of the message. Why would a preacher focus so heavily on judgment and almost miss the glorious climax of the passage? The content decisions of the preacher say a lot about the preacher . . . and go a long way to determining the temperature radiating from the front as we preach.
As you prepare to preach your next message, is your message radiating the glow of a loving and living God? As you step up to preach your next message, is your heart prayerfully prayed full so that you yourself radiate that same glow?