Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Shepastor: “Singing The Lord’s Song in a Strange Land: Preaching When You Don’t Feel Like Preaching” Highlights from Sherman Haywood Cox II

1By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4How shall we sing the LORD'S song in a strange land?
Psalm 137:1-4

As the Psalmist grappled with the realities of Babylonian captivity, he raised the profound question, “How do we sing The LORD’S song in a strange land?” For some, serving in their particular ministry can feel like, “a strange land” and or “Babylonian Captivity!” The pain, disappointment and struggle of serving in a less than supportive and appreciative congregation can drain one’s spirit of strength, hope, vision and vitality. Today, Shepastor highlights excerpts from the message, “Preaching When You Don’t Feel Like Preaching,” by Sherman Haywood Cox II.

Read further and be blessed!

Shepastor Highlights: “Preaching When You Don’t Feel Like Preaching,” by Sherman Haywood Cox II

Preach On!

… How do you preach when you don’t feel like it? In short the answer is to just preach. Preach on in your pain. Preach on through your pain. Often your pain can open up avenues in the scripture that you would not be able to see if you were feeling just fine. Andre Crouch sang: “If I didn’t have a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them…” In addition, if the prophet Habakkuk didn’t get mad at God we wouldn’t have the book of Habakkuk. So just like Habakkuk wrote on and just like Andrea Sang on, I would encourage you to preach on.

Don’t Ignore Your Pain

As you preach, you should not attempt to ignore your pain while preaching or preparing. It is always important to be genuine. You may not connect with certain texts that you normally connect with. This time of pain might be a time of discovery and hope in the midst of hopelessness. It is easy to talk about God hooking you up when all is well, but when you are in the midst of something….you’ve got to be more real…more connected to your congregation’s pain…more connected to humanity’s pain. Hurt can be a gift to you as a preacher….

Finally, recognize that you are preaching for the help of the whole congregation and not just for yourself. While you shouldn’t ignore yourself, you must not only preach for or to yourself either. It is a balancing act, but you must ever realize that you are preaching to a congregation that needs a word. When you are in pain, that word may be a future-oriented hope. Meaning that it is not today that you are feeling good, but it is a future hope. Like the old song says “I’m so glad trouble don’t last always.”

Perhaps it is not an overt hope, but one that comes from the other side of the of pain. Like those who sang: “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child.” You can’t learn about how good God’s gift is until you fully understand your present position apart from God. Whatever it is, send them home with a real…valid…Word….

Let me also add, when you get past this time of pain, and you will, don’t forget to look back. Look back and let your new vantage point from the other side of your pain guide you in your future preaching!!!

To read more of Sherman's message, visit,

Do you have advice for preaching through your pain? Are you stuck in a spiritual rut? Post a comment or send me and email at

In faith, hope and perseverance,
Pastor Chris

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