I only had a few opportunities where I preached several weeks in a row. So, normally, by the time my next turn to preach came around, I had a message that God had definitely put on my heart. In writing a sermon, I would blend using my education and abilities in addition to the Spirit’s leading. Some preachers prepare outlines only then fly by the seat of their pants, allowing the Spirit to lead. I was trained to write my message then practice it until I could reduce my notes to a single 3X5″ card. I was never good at that and like a friend of mine (whom I won’t call out) I essentially read my messages. Some felt like that was inhibiting the Spirit whereas I felt like the Spirit lead me in the original writing of the message. Indeed, there were Sunday mornings when I got up and tore up my sermon for that evening knowing that wasn’t what God wanted me to preach. But, one of the things that I was taught was to watch my congregation, maintain eye contact, and try to keep everyone engaged. As a result, I often gauged how good a job I did by how many people seemed moved or contemplative not by how many times I heard, “Great message Pastor.” As a matter of fact, that almost became a worrisome sign. If too many people said, “Good message Pastor,” then how many hearts were touched? The counseling relationship is much like the pastor/congregation relationship except that I can get to know what someone does or doesn’t understand and different ways to approach an issue.  When you preach a sermon, you have to try to get the message to everyone in one hour, and rarely is that a recipe for universal success. But the counseling relationship also allows me to make sure that what we cover is exactly what that person needs. Writing “How to be a Christian in Today’s World” was like a mixture of both. God developed the message over a 3 or 4-year period independently in my wife and myself, so I knew what I had to write. Then, just like a sermon, I had an idea of the direction that I wanted to take, but as I studied and prayed, and listened, the message developed beyond anything I would have planned. Like a sermon, it may not be perfect for everyone. But, like a counseling session, I was able to go much more in-depth than a short sermon. It is my sincere hope and prayer that you will benefit from the book and share it with others. And most importantly for the book to spread, please write a review.  

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