Thursday, June 9

To be so close...

Words of Faith - Billy Graham -

No, all roads don't lead to God, but for someone to say they thirst, and not quite believe in Christ, it makes me hopeful and sad all at the same time.

But Billy Graham loved to preach, respected the form and used it to its fullest effect. He understood that preaching is essentially the presentation of a spiritual argument, which means that a sermon must be filled with ideas, not just feelings.

To preach you must be smart, you must have faith and you must be able to simplify words without simplifying ideas. A preacher must then move beyond the logic of debate and into the world of personal peril and fear. A great sermon must be heard as if it was addressed only to you, the listener. It must first describe the storm in your life, and then it must offer you a compelling course to get through the storm and into quiet seas of love and hope. That hope must be simple and childlike but never childish. It must be a daring hope that inspires—not just deductively proves—the postulates of its argument, and that hope must be consonant with an ancient religion and not just a passing snapshot of what you decided to believe today.

A sermon must be worldly without being trendy, humorous without being irreverent and certain without being arrogant. Understood this way, almost nobody can give a great sermon, and if you attend services regularly, you will certainly confirm that fear. That is why I so admire Billy Graham. He could really preach.

If you love Billy Graham, you'll appreciate how this Rabbi honors him. His writing is convicting to me, as I am not a gracious person when faced with the beliefs that differ from my own.

{And as an aside, all of his requirements of a great preacher are also embodied in my Pastor. I'd guess that many Reformed preachers are good that way.}

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