Memorable preaching experiences (positive ones!)

In a few words describe an occasion when listening to a sermon was positively memorable and made an impact on you. Why was this so?

20 thoughts on “Memorable preaching experiences (positive ones!)

  1. Tony Ling Dales Bible Week (1986?)
    1 Kings 18,21
    “How long will you waver between two opinions”
    The preaching was a call to action, and the theme was repeated like a roll-call.
    The audience numbered hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
    The body shared a common experience: our sinfulness and our desire for single-mindedness..

  2. There have been a few sermons that have really stood out for me over the past 6 years that I have been a Christian, one was at the Big Church Day Out festival.

    The lead singer of Casting Crowns was giving his testomony and the things he spoke about in his life, he spoke about how satan can tell us that we are not worthy and that we can not achive our goals, but with God in our lives we can do anything that we set our minds on.

    Another sermon that really affected me in a more personal way was one preached the Sunday after my fiancees dad had died.

    He died on the two year anniversary of my mum dying so it was a very tough time for as it was, I really wasn’t in the mood for church at that time and felt that God wasn’t really with me.

    I didn’t want to leave my fiancee and her family, but she said that I needed to go to church, and needed to ask God to be with me.

    As i walked up the hill I was listening to a Casting Crowns song call if we ever needed you, and praying to God and asking why he took both my mum and my fiancees dad from us, and for God to show me a sign that he is still there with me.

    When i got into church I just went and sat at the back and wasn’t my normal chatty self.

    It was Simon Ladd preaching that Sunday, I can’t fully remeber the topic of the sermon, but it was based loosly around that even in the worst of situations that God never leaves you, whilst listening to the sermon it flet like I was the only one in the church and that Simon was preaching just for me.

    It gave me the boost i needed to get through the next few weeks and reminded me that God was always there.

  3. About 30 years ago, at a Minister’s induction service, referring to the hymn “Jesu lover of my soul”, the well know Baptist preacher Revd. Dr. Howard Williams said that the church should have a sign up saying “No bosom flyers here”. The phrase has stayed with me as a puzzle (should I have asked the preacher what he meant? maybe, but I didn’t). I think: what is wrong with flying to Jesus when life becomes overpowering? I cannot recall anything else from that sermon but I hope he meant that church should not only be a refuge but also a powerhouse. As preachers we have a responsibility to be challenging but unambiguous.

  4. One was hearing some teaching on believer’s baptism. I had struggled with my infant baptism when I was saved at Uni, even though I had always had a belief in the God of the Bible and was christened, confirmed etc it wasn’t until I encountered the living Lord that my life was changed. Even so I had no clear teaching on baptism and it’s real meaning so just accepted that someone else had made that choice for me. When my daughter was being baptised as a believer (albeit a young one) our Pastor spoke of the importance of baptism as a response to God, as a sign of the change within, as a sharing in Jesus’ death and resurrection and an outward sign of an inner change. The Holy Spirit really opened up my understanding and I responded by asking if I could be baptised too. Never looked back from then.

  5. I remember a talk given by Tony Campolo while I was at an Operation Mobilisation summer conference in 1989. He spoke about how he and his university students challenged Gulf & Western, a multinational corporation, to improve their treatment of people living in the Dominican Republic. What they did was each buy a small amount of shares in the company. This entitled them to attend a public stockholders meeting. According to the company rules, they were each allowed to speak for five minutes. But there were quite a few of them. They had prepared a presentation broken up into five minute segments, and they presented their segments in sequence. By the end of the meeting they had publicly criticised the company in front of its shareholders. The company’s management were quite upset. But to give them credit, they engaged with Dr Campolo and his students, and over the coming months they began a programme of reforms which resulted in agricultural land in the Dominican Republic, that had been used for cash crops such as coffee and sugar, being re-purposed to grow food crops for sale to the local population at affordable prices.

    I remember this sermon because it was one of the first I ever heard that convinced me that being a Christian could do more than make us nicer people. It showed me that it could make a real difference in the World.

  6. A phrase from a sermon preached by our vicar several years ago has remained strongly in my mind : “if not me, who? If not now, when?”
    I think he’d read it somewhere and it had stuck with him too.
    It has helped me through some unpleasant things !’ve had to deal with!

  7. I remember an Anglican bishop who announced that he was going to preach on “be kind to one another” Eph. 4:32. I thought “what a weak text that is to preach from”. In the most beautiful way he showed how relevant is was for us; how “unkind” we could be to one another in the church, how important kindness was to the world outside and then compared our actions to those of Jesus in his life and death for us.
    At the end I felt very ashamed of my own unkindness and of my immature judgement of the text he chose and expounded so well.

  8. I still recall a sermon I heard as a student about 45 years ago on “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt 5.13). The key message was that as Christians we needed to be engaged in society, to make a difference in the world, rather than always retreating into our ‘holy huddles’. We were warned not to be like salt piled high on the edge of a plate of meat without any contact with the meat itself. To make his point, the preacher produced a salt shaker and piled salt on the edge of a plate in the pulpit. He then proceeded to shake the salt shaker violently spinkling salt over all the congregation within reach of the pulpit! The point was well made and it had a profound influence on me and my choice of future career.

  9. For me, it is often a single phrase within a sermon that stays with me. A few months ago, Matt Rushby of BCY, preached at my church. He said that when we consider our “ministry” we shouldn’t ask ourselves what we enjoy but what breaks our hearts. It’s been working through my mind almost daily for the last few months.

  10. One particular talk I remember is one I listened to online from Amy Orr Ewing. She was preaching on overcoming life’s challenges and used verse in Revelation 12 “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the power of their testimony”. She kept on referring back to this verse which helped it stick. This had a big impact on me, reminding my that my testimony and what I have to say is a powerful weapon that God wants to use, it also helped to affirm who I am as a woman in God and what he is calling me to do.

  11. Clive Calver at the first(?) Spring Harvest in Prestatyn, and the sermon was on the text “Moses my servant is dead.” Joshua 1:2. The preacher brought the chapter alive and related it to the church not looking back but forward. As a young teenager I felt God’s call to take on the baton. I had not heard preaching like this before, that opened up God’s word so clearly and made literature over three thousand years old relevant to my life. Calver’s enthusiasm, wisdom and calling has stayed with me ever since.

  12. Over 40 years ago (1971) I was privileged to attend a week of teaching on Revival given by Duncan Cambell in the last year of his life and was struck most by the amazing humility of a man so wonderfully used of God to powerfully minister from the pulpit at a time of revival. I think the following possibly best sums up his testimony, “It has grieved me again and again to hear people speak about, ‘the man’ or write about, ‘the man that brought revival to Lewis’. My dear students I didn’t bring revival to Lewis. I thank God for the privilege of being there, and perhaps in some small measure leading the movement for about three years, but God moved in the Parish of Barvas before I ever set foot in the island.” The word I received from God that whatever the result of my preaching, the glory belongs to God, and Him alone.

  13. Not so much a sermon as a talk in a conference setting. This was on Saturday October 11 2014 at the Mind and Soul Conference on ‘Emotions’ at St Mary’s Bryanstone Square in London by Rev Will van der Hart. His subject was ‘Perfectionism’.

    What struck me was the way he accommodated his audience, which ranged from sufferers of emotional and mental disorders through to practitioners in the field. All were made welcome. All would have taken significant content from the talk. In many cases it would have helped life change. What struck me most was the way it countered Biblical arguments so often aimed at sufferers in ways that would not help them in their struggles, and explored the meanings in more helpful ways.

  14. A particular talk that has stuck in my mind, was a sermon that was addressing a passage talking about the consequences and seriousness of sin (I can’t remember the passage, as it was over ten years ago). It was late summer 2002, and the preacher linked in the passage and the headline news topic at the time, which was the Soham murders, linking in the passage with that awful current event, that was also local. This was done with much sensitivity, and didn’t dwell on the issue, but went back to the passage after a few sentences were said about it. Hence, the way it was linked in – as it was top of the national and local news, and so people would be thinking and talking about it – was a positive way to include the issue, with the tone, substance and length of illustration used, in all the right amounts.

  15. Did anyone catch the memorial service for Ian Paisley which was televised live yesterday? His son preached about The Good Shepherd and what struck me was that as well as expounding on the Gospel and linking it to his father’s dedicated Christian life, he challenged his hearers to give their life to Jesus NOW – bear in mind this was to a crowded assembly but also to a possibly world wide audience. That man seized the opportunity to present the Gospel as something by which his father had lived but also as a challenge to all his hearers.

  16. One speaker I listed to during the last year spoke about our journeys, and it boiled down to a very simple thing. We often compare ourselves to others, we shouldn’t do this, it is our journey. It doesn’t matter what speed we progress, as long as we do. We need to keep on keeping on, movement in the right direction is all good as long as it is movement. As long as we don’t stand still then we are still growing in our faith. The only person we need to be better than is ourselves and who we were the day before. Keep on keeping on, and don’t give up.

  17. One of the most helpful sermons I heard was from the pastor of a church in Stoke on Trent. He did a series of sermons from the book of Romans and had a thread in all his sermons about predestination, which at the end made you come to the conclusion that God has everything ‘sorted’ and we don’t have much to do! He then gave a sermon on Matt 28:19 ‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations,………. ‘ which put everything into perspective! fantastic.

  18. There is one sermon that I can’t eradicate from my memory, it’s been there for over 35 years. Now I know I’m bending the criteria a bit with this one, but it’s a sermon I never heard.
    What to do? Probably the most wellknown preacher of his day has come to town and you’ve arranged to go to the pictures with your wife to be. Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones died soon afterwards so I never had the opportunity to make a different choice – but we have been happily married for 34 years so maybe we did the right thing.

    What the experience taught me was that no man or woman is more important than the Word, but be carefull – sometimes when people around you insist that a particular course of action is God’s way for you, don’t say no just because you want to be different or you’re not courageous enough to make that particular step of faith. On that occasion it was more important to continue preparing for marriage rather than go and listen to a famous preacher!

    There’s another thing that bothers me sometimes. A few years ago I started making a list of what I have titled, “Is this one of the hardest verses in the Bible?” And sadly, I haven’t heard anyone preach from them. Top of the list is Joshua 11 verse 20. What do you think?

    • Thanks for the comment, Richard. I think your choice was the right one! As for Joshua 11 v 20 I won’t even try to give an answer here but you are right, these passages should not be avoided by preachers and should instead be met head on with brutal honestly. The only thing which gives a crumb of comfort in this passage is that it appears in verse 19 that a peace treaty was Joshua’s preferred option…?

  19. Probably back in the late 80’s or the early 90’s I heard Terry Virgo speak. He was talking about the resurrection of Jesus. At one point he said “it was not the mere resuscitation of a corpse”, and as he did so he used this upward fluttering motion with his right hand. It was so powerful; it was so derogatory and dismissive. It has stuck with me.

    I don’t think I really understood then, and whilst I understand now a little better, I certainly have not grasped the fullness of what Terry meant. It is something along these lines; our lives are intended to be physical, real, acts-oriented demonstrations of God’s kingdom now!

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