4 Things I Learned From My First Sermon

I recently preached my first sermon. I profited greatly from the experience and decided to (finally) post what I learned on here. Here are 4 valuable lessons I learned from my first sermon:

1. No book will truly prepare you for your first sermon.
I have read a ton of books directly related or referring to preaching. I thought I knew it all as I prepared for my sermon. I had an outline and clear, numbered points. I had the advice of Mark Dever, John Piper, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, John Macarthur, and Charles Spurgeon. I was ready to ace my first speaking experience. Yet none of this prepared me for my sweaty hands fumbling nervously as I turned a page in my notes, or my long, awkward pauses when I lost my place in my sermon. And none of this prepared me for the presence of the Holy Spirit during those twenty minutes or the exhilarating, glorious feeling I experienced as I exposited God’s word. Books are great tools. My sermon benefited from them. But they cannot take the place of getting up in front of an audience and trying to make yourself clear for 20 minutes. That’s the fun (?) of preaching your first sermon.
2. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
I prayed through the process of studying and writing my sermon. I prayed right before I got up from my pew and marched to the pulpit. And then, as I faced my audience, I bowed my head and led the room in prayer. My knees felt as weak as jelly. I was sweating under the spotlights and as nervous as anything. Yet as I prayed, I felt God’s presence and power. I couldn’t do this. But God could. This was not my sermon. This was God’s sermon. I wasn’t nerve-free after the “amen.” But I had the confidence in God’s word that I needed to go on. Never, never underestimate the power of prayer.
3. Never lose confidence in the power of God’s Word.
Who did I think I was? A thirteen-year-old, challenging and exhorting adults? Thoughts like these went through my head as I prepared. Some helpful advice was offered me which helped me clear through these. I was challenged to “look your people in the eye. Even if you’re thirteen, you’re going to preaching from God’s inspired word, and you need to have the confidence to make eye contact with your audience.” This really helped me. I learned an important lesson: be confident enough in the inerrant and life-changing Word of God that you can convey the same confidence to your audience.
4. Well-timed encouragement can be a big blessing.
I had a variety of responses to my sermon; many telling me “great job” and reminiscing about their past speaking experiences. But a few people took the time to actually tell me how they benefited and what they learned from my sermon. This was very encouraging. Believe it or not, I actually put a lot of work into the theological content of my sermon, and a lot of people just emphasized the fact that I was getting up there and speaking for the first time. But to know that people actually grew spiritually from the content–that meant worlds to me.


The Peril and Potential of Youth Athletics

The Peril and Potential of Youth Athletics

I’ve never really been involved in official youth athletics, but I have been an enthusiastic participant in street sports all my life. That in mind, I really enjoyed this thought-provoking article. 

Thank you Moms!

I know I posted a video the other day, but this was too good to pass up. It got my Mom cracking up last Mother’s Day, so you know it must be *really* funny.
Love you Mom!

If you listen to one sermon this year, make it this one.

If you listen to one sermon this year, make this be it.

I decided to work through the Together for the Gospel (T4G) conference this year by listening to the messages, and have greatly profited from them. I haven’t heard all of them yet, but what I have heard has been good. Really good. My favorite so far is the first one I listened to, “The Gospel By Numbers,” which Ligon Duncan preached. No, I don’t like it because it has a big name on it. In fact, I’d never heard of Pastor Duncan before! Let me explain why I found it so good.

Ligon Duncan started in an obscure passage in Numbers dealing with what God commands in cases of impurities or discharges-a passage most people wouldn’t consider much to preach on. He then went on to preach one of the most expositional, Christological messages I’ve ever heard, overflowing with the gospel. Bottom line: Listening to this sermon will give you an overwhelming appreciation for what Christ has done for us.

Don’t Idolize Your Leaders

Don’t Idolize Your Leaders

We all look up to someone, and this can often include trying to be like them. That’s not a bad thing if those you look up to model Christ, but it’s potentially harmful, and that’s why I think this post from desiringgod.org is so helpful.

5 Steps to help you become a more intentional evangelist

  1. Never have an “off” moment. Always be on guard and ready for opportunities.
  2. Read up on the doctrines of major religions and cults. This is important, for encountering other religions during evangelism is inevitable.
  3. Pray by name for the people you meet. This is of utmost importance. Pray that the gospel will take root in their hearts.
  4. Prioritize 1-on-1 conversations.
  5. Emphasize discipleship. I would highly recommend anything by David Platt on this.


“iGods: How technology shapes our Spiritual and Social Lives.” By Craig Detweiler

I recently saw this book at the library and was intrigued by the cover and intro, so I brought it home to read. It deals with what Detweiler calls the “iGods” of our nation-people like Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Jeff Bezos of Amazon, and Mark Zuckerburg of Facebook. The book deals with their:

  •  Stories: What made them successful? How did they do it?
  • Services: The book details the offerings of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Pixar, YouTube, and Twitter. 
  • Relevance: Why we should care, and how it affects our social and spiritual lives. He does a great job tying this all in at the end of the book.

I enjoy learning about technology and the giants that created it, so this was a fascinating and engaging read. I didn’t pick it up as much for the spiritual content, but found that to be helpful as well. What I really enjoyed about it is that you can find the author on Facebook: it isn’t anti-technology at all. It warns you of the dangers but recognizes technology as a God-given tool to be used wisely. I appreciated that look.

You can purchase it at the link below (at the site of an iGod) or do as I did and check it out from the library.

Click here to purchase “iGods”

The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions

This is one of the best sermons I’ve ever heard. David Platt’s passion for the gospel and love of Jesus Christ are very, very, evident. Your soul will be enriched, your love for Christ increased, and your burden for sharing the gospel will become great.

From Farms to Garbage Cans

From Farms to Garbage Cans

This is a great post on The Gospel Coalition about waste. People have been saying this for years, but people aren’t heeding them to this day.