The Word of God for the People of God

What I Believe About Preaching

by Rev. David Kalas

I believe that the pulpit is too big for small stuff. If I preach something less than God's Word, I have misused the pulpit.

I believe that the sermon is for God's truth, not human opinion. If I make the pulpit a venue for expressing my own individual views about things, I am using the company car for personal errands.

I believe that the preacher does not have to make Scripture relevant or wise. The preacher does not have to make the gospel lovely or good. And the preacher does not have to make God magnificent or glorious. The preacher's task is simply to pull back the curtain in order to reveal how wise, how lovely, how magnificent all of it is.

I believe that preaching is central to the work of God in an individual's life, in the church, and in the world. Paul says that "faith comes by hearing." Preaching, therefore, is essential to the planting and nurturing of faith.

And what does faith do? We are saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8), our faith makes us well (Matthew 9:22), faith can move mountains (Matthew 17:20), and without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Core Sermons

Not all sermons are created equal.

We know that already from our own experience sitting in the pews. Some sermons speak to us in a deeper and more personal way than others do. Some make a lasting impression on us in a way that others do not. This is a personal and subjective business, of course. Different individuals will respond to the same sermon in different ways.

Not all sermons are created equal for the preacher, either.

While every sermon ought to expound the Word of God, some are closer to the heart of the preacher than others. The following sermons that I have preached at First United Methodist Church are "core" sermons for me. That is to say, these are the sermons that reflect my basic understanding of certain fundamental doctrines.

"Christianity is a Rel" is my answer to the world's misunderstanding of just what the Lord has offered to us and what we, in turn, offer to the world.

In "A Glimpse of Heaven," I shared with the congregation a central belief of mine about the church.

The Old Testament Book of Judges is not the first place we turn to talk about the church. Yet as I reflect on the days of the Judges, I am reminded of the times in which we live.  And the era of Israel’s "Frontier Living" forms a part of my understanding of what we are called to be and to do in our world today.

I believe that our calling and mission, both as individuals and as the church, are summed up in Three Words from Jesus: The Invitation, The Challenge, The Mission.

"Here We Are, At Your Service" represents the basis of my understanding of worship -- what it is and what it is meant to be.

I have also shared my sense of what "Our Three Basic Food Groups" are for us as Christians. These, then, form the basis for what I believe that a church and its pastor must provide for the congregation.

Then, in "The Math of Prayer," I focused on one of those three basics. How important is prayer in your life? How comfortable is your experience with prayer? How natural does it feel? Together we explored the truth of both how central and how essential to the Christian life prayer is.

"Looking for a Good Response" expresses my core convictions about giving.

And "R.S.V.P." captures what is, for me, the essence of Christian living. In the weeks leading up to this sermon, I shared with the church family that if I could preach only one thing, it would be this central principle. In my experience, both the beginning and the living of the Christian life come down to this.

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