I was reading a post at TN Rambler's blog about preaching a sermon without a manuscript and I was moved to reflect upon some of my sermons that weren't outlined or scripted. Don't get me wrong...on those occasions where I delivered a message without referring to notes weren't the result of not having an outline prepared...they were times when the Holy Spirit had something else in mind. I have come to refer to those occasions as "regurgitation preaching" times. One can study and compose, and study and study and study, and compose....and have all the pieces in place for a good message, until the moment is at hand to deliver it. The first words are spoken and they're not the words I intended to speak, and I close my folder and just let it flow...it is as if all that I'd taken in is coming out without my control over it. It's as if I'm a passenger on a ride that I don't know where it is going.
I've been moved by so many good sermons that weren't the sermons that the preachers had prepared...rather, they were the words that the Holy Spirit delivered instead. These preachers admit that they didn't plan it that way...it just happened. I'm confident that these preachers experienced a "regurgitation preaching" moment, and took a back seat to let God drive the message that needed to be heard into the hearts and minds of the congregation. One such sermon I heard downplayed the role of a pastor from being a shepherd to a sheep dog. Jesus is the shepherd...a minister does the work of the sheep dog.
I pray for those times of "regurgitation preaching" to be more the norm rather than the exception. Holy Spirit does such a better job at delivering the message than I do.