Shift the emPHASis

Last Sunday I had preached (spoke, gave the speech) in all three weekend services at our church.

I love communicating the gospel with people. It’s fun. I really love it.

When I came down off the platform after the 9:30 service I wanted to get on my computer and send an apology email to everyone who had just listened to the message.

I’m serious.

Before reading any further please understand a few things:

1. This is not a “fishing” post – I don’t need an extra pat on the back or any, “No, you did great,” comments. That’s not why I’m writing this.

2. I don’t struggle with feelings of self-worth and I’m not depressed.

3. I write to myself as much as I write to others.

Okay, we good?

After speaking I wanted to run to my office and hide.

I’m pretty sure there was no heresy (false teaching about God) in the message, I just really didn’t like the way it came out.

I was frustrated. As a communicator, I like successful communication. After my first attempt I felt like my communication was only so-so.

Despite my wife and others encouraging words, I went to my office to stew.

As I sat in my office consumed with me.

My performance.

My message.

My perceived failure.

Two pieces of wisdom came to mind.

The first was from my first ever pastor, Wes Lindseth.

One time, after a youth service, I had described similar feelings of, “I just didn’t like the way it went…”

He responded calmly and confidently, “Andy, the word of God never returns void.”

He was quoting a passage from the book of Isaiah which guarantees that whenever God’s word, the good news is shared, it WILL produce fruit.

The second piece of wisdom I recalled was from my second ever pastor (and current) Brian Dolleman.

Just before I was going to speak on a Sunday for the first time with him as my boss, he said, “Just remember to relax, have fun, and smile.”

That was such a relief to hear from him.

I wanted to impress him, I wanted to make sure I did well.

Hearing those words from him, helped calm me down and keep things in the right perspective.

Both of my pastors had the benefit of many years of speaking experience to their credit. They probably had plenty of times in which they felt as if they could have done better and yet they lived to tell about it.

As I sat in my office waiting for the next service to begin I realized something important:

It wasn’t about my performance. It wasn’t about how well I did.

I needed to shift the emphasis.

The emphasis of any gospel message is Christ!

Here I was, supposedly sharing the good news, and I was consumed with self-centered critiques.

The very thing I was preaching about, Grace, has everything to do with Jesus and His completed work for us.

All I could think of was me.

What a dork!

It was time for me to shift my emphasis.

It was time to relax, have fun, and smile.


God’s word ALWAYS produces fruit.

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