This sermon from Pastor Bunting is about prayer, provision, and our need for prayer to keep us at peace regarding provision.
Prayer is not just the means to getting what we need, it is the reminder that God is the ultimate provider.
Though we could highlight other things here are a few of the things we felt Pastor Bunting did well in this sermon:
- Pastor Tom Bunting addresses our individual needs. People want to know that what we are preaching is necessary and applicable to their lives. In the book “Making it Stick” the author reminds us that the question constantly present in our listener’s mind is WIFM? What’s in it for me? We can judge that human condition, but judging it will not change it. Practical theologians recognize where people are, where they need to be, and discern the best way to help them travel the distance. Pastor Bunting continually states that spending time alone with God is a deep human need- we are in need of the manna that only God can provide.
- Pastor Bunting addresses his own need for God. Sometimes as preachers we fail to let our congregations see that we are weak and in need, but Pastor Tom makes sure his congregation knows that he is in need of God, too. Explicitly placing yourself under the conviction of a sermon reduces the defense mechanisms in the listener. If the pastor has a need, I am allowed to have that need, too. If the pastor does not have the need, then I should keep the need secret. After all, I don’t want to look less spiritual, weaker than the strongest among us, or appear like I need more care than others.
- Pastor Bunting uses positivity. Though a common question in preaching language, Pastor Bunting uses it well: “Wouldn’t it be terrible for us to miss out on what God has for us today?” Though at first glance, this looks like a negative statement, its implications are positive. This means that God has something for us every day. Each day has a new provision, a new and unique presence, a present that is God in Godself waiting for us to attend to him. That is exciting, and truly good news.
Three questions for you as a preacher:
1. When was the last sermon you remember preaching where you made it clear that the sermon you were delivering required fresh repentance, change this week—even change in the coming week, from you?
2. Imagine what others might say if you asked them the balance of positivity and negativity in your preaching? Are you 60% bad news and 40% good news in your preaching? 90/10, 10/90, 80/20? There is no perfect balance, but you might be surprises by what other would actually say.
3. Finally, when will you spend more than five minutes in prayer with God today in a way that has absolutely nothing to do with your professional ministry role?