Many years ago, when I was a student at Ministries Institute at Faith Center in Eugene, Oregon, I learned a valuable lesson about sermon preparation from my pastor, Roy Hicks, Jr.
Roy was a profound teacher of God’s Word. He taught about God’s Kingdom. His focus on Kingdom preaching wrecked me for desiring anything less in my own ministry.
One day in one of our classes Roy said, “There are three questions you need to ask yourself as you prepare to teach God’s Word. ‘What is God’s heart in the passage? What is the human response? What is the personal application?’”
I will never forget Roy’s words. Over the years I have studied the disciplines of sermon preparation, like Hermeneutics and Homiletics, and have benefited from these studies, yet those three questions from Roy have had the strongest influence on my life.
Once, Roy gave each of us a copy of his sermon notes. It was only one page in length. I thought there would have been more. Embedded in that single page of notes where the answers to his three questions. I still have those notes.
Today, almost 35 years later, I still teach those same three questions to the young men and women who attend our school of ministry in Medford, Oregon. Roy’s questions have been so impacting because they have caused me to dig deeper into the Word beyond just a commentary level of study. Roy’s questions made me press into the heart of God. The questions have also made me apply the Word to my own life as I prepare a message each week. This has been painful at times. I think this kind of sermon preparation is part of the continuing process of incarnation where the Word becomes flesh in the people of God.