What a whirlwind it hasn't been today. I had planned to drive to Boone, NC, in order to get some pictures of the fall foliage this region is famous for. But a good friend of mine who lives out that way told me that the colors should be much better next week. So instead of going on another hiking adventure, I am a homebody today and tomorrow, which meant, at least for this morning, another trip to the local Y.
As I was working out, I listened to a sermon by the one and only Haddon Robinson. Now I'm sitting here at home trying to recover from the whiplash. Every sermon should look and sound like this one. I mean that. EVERY SERMON. Can you say "communication"? Lots of sermons have lots of talking, but very little communication. So if you are a preacher, I dare you to watch this sermon on the Lord's Prayer in Luke 11:1-4.
No, I double dare you. I mean, am I the only one who can't stand it when somebody just reads their sermon notes, or when they repeat the same old same old, or when there is little to ZERO connection with their audience? When Becky and I would visit Dallas to spend time with her mom and dad, we would often have the chance to hear Haddon Robinson in person at Grace Bible Church. His messages came to be very predictable to me -- "predictable" in the sense of always being fresh, always innovative, always humorous, always self-deprecating, always deep, and yet never boring. Sure, there's very little anyone can say about the Lord's Prayer that people don't already know or haven't already heard a gazillion times. But the key to effective communication is taking obvious truths and packaging them in such a way as to leave your audience saying, Wow, I've never heard THAT before! Haddon Robinson never disappoints when it comes to taking a timeless message and communicating it in a timely fashion. And please observe: He uses absolutely no notes. Never does. There is nothing, my friends, and I mean NOTHING, that will help you build rapport with your audience and keep them engaged more than positive eye contact. Isn't this being taught in our homiletics classes? If it isn't, it should be. You will never see Haddon Robinson read from a notebook. How does he do it? He knows his stuff.
Well, not sure what right I have to tell anybody what good preaching looks like. I'm certainly no homiletician. Okay then. I'll shut up. Do not watch this video. Do not try and improve your sermon delivery. Do not, under any circumstances, know the message God has put on your heart backwards and forwards before you speak. And please, do not depend on your memory. Use your note cards even when you're telling a personal anecdote. Gotta get the words down just right.
In all honesty, it's been a couple of hours since I listened to this message and it is still percolating in my heart and mind. I heard truths about prayer that I had not heard in 61 years of following Jesus. Furthermore, many truths that I already did know came back to me with new power and conviction. All this to say -- Haddon Robinson proved to me once again just how effective biblical preaching can be in making us better and stronger spiritually.
Suffice it to say, my prayer life will change, starting today. Maybe yours will, too, if you dare to watch this video.