Having written a first draft of my preach in James 1:22-25 I shaped it for a while. My concerns in polishing are:
1) To make it clear
2) To make it Jesus focused and gospel centered. It should be about Jesus. Not moralizing, not even, merely theological but Christ-ological.
3) Eliminate waffle. Add in pre-scripted bits where I am likely to waffle, waste time and be unclear.
4) Strengthen illustrations and add others in where needed. Be aware of the rise and fall of peoples attention as they listen. When will they be listening, when will they be drifting. Sometimes I move illustrations to places where I think attention spans may be being stretched.
5) Give it some sense of unity and wholeness rather than a set of unrelated statements and thoughts. Make sure it has one main message.
I have 4 days to go but only 2 working days and lots of other things I need to do. It has not been an easy one. I struggled getting the structure, and I struggled filling in the content ie fitting things into “blessings” and “deceptions”.
My conclusion was based around something I heard Tim Kellar say last week. He pointed out that happyness is not found when we make it the object of our searching. Rather, happiness comes as the byproduct of our seeking something else. That seems to be true bionically. Happiness is found in seeking God and his kingdom.
We should not therefore seek to “do” God’s word just for the benefit it brings to ourselves but out of love for Jesus. Jesus said “if you love me you will obey my commands”. Having seen all that Jesus has done for us, and how he loves us so much, our joyful, loving response is to obey him. There is no greater motivation than love and no greater blessing than that which comes through it.
Oh, and I put a big mirror up outside the door as people came in with James 1:22-25 on it as a visual aid.
I preached it twice. If you are interested you can listen one version “A call to action 03/06/2012” here.