Steve Lawson, in his book “The Kind of Preaching God Blesses” tells a story that every
preacher should take note of. He writes, "The story is told of a young seminary graduate
who eagerly set out to preach his first sermon in his new pastorate. After several years
of intense theological study, he was ready to unleash his vast learning upon this
unsuspecting congregation. As he entered the pulpit, he did so with an amazing amount of self-assurance. Standing before the people, his chest pushed forward, his head erect, his countenance glowing,” Lawson went on to say. "But, as this young theologian delivered his maiden sermon, he unexpectedly began to falter. His tongue become thick. He stumbled over his words. He lost his place in his notes. His concentration was broken. His delivery waned. By all accounts, the sermon was a complete failure. Immediately after this excruciating experience was over, this devastated young pastor slithered down from the pulpit. His head was low, his shoulders slouched over, his knees weak. Never had he be so humbled by such pride-crushing embarrassment. As he exited the sanctuary, the older deacon approached him and, putting his arm around him said, ‘Pastor, if you had gone up into the pulpit the way you came down, you would have come down the way you went up!’”
Every time we stand behind the pulpit, we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit--to make my thought His thoughts, to make my words His words. God expects more, and our congregations deserve more.