Sticking with the memory theme. I have heard probably thousands of sermons in my life. Or at least it seems like that many. Yet I remember only a few. Sure, a lot of the messages are in my heart and head somewhere. And the information comes out when I really need it.
The sermons that I remember usually hit a deep connection with me, were very novel, had a memorable illustration or stuck out for some other quirky reason. I have doubted the real significance of sermons as a communication method for a number of years.
While sermons have their place, I believe too many people put too much significance on them. People learn best through interaction. Sermons typically engage only two of your five senses. Jesus taught through a variety of methods. Sermons were only one tool that He used, but they have become the predominant teaching method in most churches today.
People can come in and out of churches for years and experience very little transformation. This can be the case even if you have a great preacher in the pulpit. The best way to communicate God’s message is through a variety of teaching methods. And even then, it takes a willingness to hear for anything significant to happen.
Here are a few of the sermons/teachings that I remember the best:
- Nothing really from my childhood years. I remember a lot of Bible stories.
- Carter Gate’s teaching on James 3 – the tongue is a restless evil full of deadly poison. Wow! That’s some powerful truth for a middle school boy to hear.
- None from my high school years.
- In college, Pastor Bill Moore’s preaching on the genealogy of Jesus. It took guts to preach something that boring. Yet he made it come alive.
- Rev. Billy Dempsey, my college campus minister, preached on Nehemiah rebuilding the wall. The first thing that Nehemiah did was pray and intercede for others.
- Rev. Billy Dempsey preaching on Hebrews – especially chapters 10-11.
- Pastor Don Coleman speaking at Commonwealth Chapel on racial reconciliation. He said it must first be about Jesus and not people in order to work.
- Pastor Don frequently spoke about Christians needing to “receive God’s love.”
- My message about God’s glory being everywhere and using pictures to facilitate the youth group discussion.
- Paris Reidhead’s sermon about humanistic ministry titled, “Ten Shekels & a Shirt.”
- Zack Poonen’s “Real Jesus” sermon series. Visit www.sermonindex.net.
- Pastor Don’s ‘famous’ Biblical quote, “The sons of God are led by the Spirit of God.”
- My message on negative thoughts and bad influences where I shredded magazines and destroyed a TV with a metal baseball bat.
- Dr. Michael Brown’s “Go & Sin No More” message.
- Rob Bell’s “Dust“ teaching from the Nooma video series.
- Mark Driscoll’s sermon on Sabbath.
- Pastor Fred Michaux’s talk about healing. Faith and hope are the two wheels on the bicycle. He was very real about his process of doubt even as a man of God. That made this message a memorable conversation.
- Pastor Dave Simiele’s illustration of the hole in the wall covered by the poster. It made me think about what in our lives do we like to keep hidden even though it is still there.