So, back to the message that is making me squirm in my seat as I prepare. I basically have three options:
1. Choose a different topic (which is rather difficult with an assigned passage).
2. Change myself before I deliver the sermon (wishful thinking in only 5 days :)
3. Be authentic with the audience and confess my short-comings on this particular truth.
By process of elimination, #3 is the option I'm left with :) Actually, this is the best one anyway. Authenticity, when applied with truth, is the vehicle by which preaching changes lives. A connection must be made with the audience in order for the truth to find its way. Authenticity is the pathway for this connection.
I'm finding this to be the hardest part of preaching. It requires a willingness to be vulnerable. It means letting down the walls and laying insecurities on the table. Yuck. -Like I said, this is hard work for me.
Fortunately, most of the work toward authenticity is done in the preparation. That's where the decision on how/when/where to be authentic is made. For the audience's full benefit, it's something that can't be put off until the night before. The message needs time to marinate in prayer with the preacher for days. This is usually when the Holy Spirit shows up in a big way.
The takeaway here is that in order to effect life-change in ourselves and others we need to be authentic. As I've discussed, it's hard work and it requires preparation. Prayer is the number one way to prepare. Any other ways you can prepare to be authentic with others?