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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN



Sermons sometimes are not very memorable. Don't believe that? Try remembering what the preacher preached a month ago. Too hard? Try remembering what he said last Sunday. Still too tough? See if you can remember this Monday morning what you heard this Sunday morning. Norman Vincent Peale wrote, "Once, when I felt I had done an especially poor job in the pulpit on a Sunday morning, forgetting the best things I had to say and saying the poorest things, I was pretty discouraged. An old preacher, a polished orator in his day, patted me on the back. `Don't let it bother you, son,' he said consolingly. `Forget it. The congregation will, and you might as well make it unanimous' " (Have a Great Day, p 79). Peale's words remind us preaching is hard work for the one in the pulpit as well as those in the pews.  The preacher's task is daunting. He must proclaim the same Gospel that has been preached for the last 2,000 years. He is expected to be accurate and interesting as he tells and retells the old story of Jesus, sometimes to people who have heard it told and retold hundreds if not thousands of times. On Sundays the preacher faces a diverse crowd. Those on the pews are rarely if ever all on the same page spiritually, socially, financially, philosophically, politically, or educationally. Interest in the sermon and spiritual truth among those sitting before the preacher runs from almost non-existent to intense. Some are wide awake with anticipation as the preacher cracks open his Bible, while others yawn. Some think the sermon time flies by and some declare it stands still. Some like sermons loaded with stories/illustrations while  some declare that such things have no place in the pulpit, else the preacher is "entertaining" the listeners. Some agree with and silently say "Amen" to the sermon; some disagree and not so silently say so, if not to the preacher, then to someone else. What keeps preachers going in the face of people's forgetfulness and the frustrations that come with preaching? G. C. Fox baptized me in Pulaski, TN, in 1972. Soon afterwards I asked him if he thought I should give my life to preaching the gospel. His terse and pointed response is still stuck in my mind: "If you can do anything else besides preach, go and do that" I didn't understand all he meant then. Now, after thirty years of ups and downs and highs and lows that come with preaching the gospel, his advice still sustains me when the going gets tough. Long ago the apostle Paul, one of history's most determined preachers, described the determination gospel preachers need — For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." God give us more preachers who are so determined to preach Christ they can't do anything else.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ