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201200 How to Communicate to Change Lives Part1

201200 How to Communicate to Change Lives Part1

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HOW TO COMMUNICATE TO CHANGE LIVESTeaching and Preaching that Makes a DifferencePart 1Rick Warren
In this session Tom and I want to deal with how do you communicate to change lives. I don’t careif you’re a Sunday school teacher or a small group leader or a Bible study leader or a pastor, if youknow the Lord and you work in the church you’re in the communication business. Although whatI’m going to be talking about today has a lot of relevance to pastors as they prepare and deliver sermons it really applies to every Christian because God has called all of us to become master communicators.We have the greatest message in the world and I believe it is a sin to bore people with the Bible. Idon’t know how we do it but we take the most exciting, life changing, revolutionary book in theworld and bore people to tears with it. That is wrong! If I deliver a boring Sunday school lessonor a boring message or a boring Bible study, people don’t just think I’m boring, they think God is boring. So they get the wrong impression.The Bible says,
“It is you then to preach the behavior which goes with healthy doctrine.”
TheBible says in Proverbs 11:30
“The wise person teaches others how to live.”
That’s what I want totalk about in this session – how do you teach others how to live?This is an issue that deeply influences the health of your church. That’s the teaching style. We pastors are particularly sensitive about our preaching. I saw this cartoon where the pastor’s preaching and says, “I asked my wife to look over my notes of today’s sermon and mark outeverything dull. So in conclusion.”We all heard about the young pastor preaching his first sermon in his first church. As he did themessage he said, “I want you to be brutally honest with me. I’m just starting out so please tell methe truth because I’d like to get better and better in my communication skills.” So after the sermonwas over he was standing at the back shaking hands, the glorification of the worm ceremony wherethey tell you how great a job you did. One deacon said, “Pastor, that sermon stunk.” So the pastor’s trying to be open about it and says, “Can you be a little bit more specific? What waswrong with the message?” The deacon said, “In the first place, you read it. In the second place,you read it poorly. In the third place, it wasn’t worth reading in the first place.”Would you agree that teaching and preaching can make or break a church? Poor teaching is killingmany, many churches. On the other hand, teaching in the pulpit is the ultimate tool for churchgrowth. Where else do you get thirty minutes to forty-five minutes of undivided attention on aweekly basis. The larger your church gets the more the pulpit becomes the rudder. Because it hasenormous power to shape and shift and lead and guide and direct the church in different directions.For fifteen years we had no building here at Saddleback. We used a tent where we would literallyfreeze in the winter, burn up in the summer, get wet in the fall and in the spring. But I want to tellyou: people will put up with a lot if the teaching is genuinely meeting their needs. They’ll put upwith all kinds of inconveniences.
 
TEACHING AND PREACHING THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE - Part 1
This next Sunday 55 million Americans will hear preachers deliver over one billion words of sermons. When it’s all said and done a lot more will have been said than done. The Bible says inJames 1:22
“Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
Circle“Do what it says.” Ecclesiastes 12:11
“The wise man’s words are like goads that spur to action.”
My question is what kind of teaching produces that kind of result. What kind of  preaching/communicating produces doers of the word and not hearers only? What kind of teaching spurs people to action?When I moved to Saddleback Valley in 1980 to start this church I completely changed my preaching style. Before I had been at Saddleback I had been involved for ten years in evangelism,full time and part time evangelism doing revivals, crusades and seminars and things like that. Ihad ten years of sermons stockpiled before I started this church. Honestly I could have just coastedfor three or four years preaching standard messages that I had done in a revival type atmosphereover the many years. But when I started Saddleback and I took that survey that we talked aboutyesterday and went out and asked the unchurched, “What is it that keeps you from coming tochurch?” one of the number one answers was “Sermons are boring and don’t relate to my life.” Ithought, “I’ve got to reconsider my communication style.”I went back and I looked at ten years of sermons that I had prepared over the years and taught in atraditional church. I didn’t ask, “Is this doctrinally sound?” I didn’t ask, “Is this homileticlycorrect?” I didn’t ask, “Do all the points start with P?” I asked one question about ten years worthof sermons: Would this make sense to a totally unchurched person who had never been in church before, a pagan with no religious background, who knew nothing about the Bible, would this makesense to that kind of person? I threw out every single message I’d preached in ten years excepttwo. And I started over.I developed a whole new style of teaching and preaching. I developed a series of eight questionsthat I continue now eighteen years later to ask myself these eight questions when I am preparing aSunday school lesson, a Bible study, a small group devotional, a message, anytime I preach or teach I ask these questions. I committed myself to the lifelong task of becoming a master communicator. I’ve got a long way to go. But the Bible says in Proverbs 16:23
“Intelligent  people think before they speak. What they say is then more persuasive.”
Would you like to bemore persuasive in your teaching? Sure you would. Then you’ve got to think through how youform the content and how you give the delivery. So I developed a set of eight questions.I want to tell you as we begin this session that I’m not setting either me or Tom up as models for  preaching. We’re just students. We’re just in this together. We’re learning. The model for  preaching, I believe, must be Jesus Christ. Not some professor in seminary. Not Paul. Not Peter. Not John the Baptist. Not Calvin. Not Luther. Not Martin Lloyd Jones. Not John McArthur. Notanybody else. I believe the model for preaching must be Jesus Christ.So today as we look at this stuff I’m going to continually say, “Let’s look at Jesus. Let’s look atJesus and see how He taught because how Jesus taught is very different from the way most of uswere taught in Bible school or seminary to preach and teach.” Very, very different.Jesus was a master communicator. That’s for sure. In John 12:49 it says,
“The Father who sent  Me commanded Me what to say and how to say it.”
Circle those two phrases – “what to say” and“how to say it.” In other words, Jesus was taught by the Father not only the content – what to say2
 
TEACHING AND PREACHING THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE - Part 1
 – but He was also taught the delivery – how to say it. So if we look at Jesus we can learn not onlywhat to say as we teach and preach but we can also learn delivery techniques. And that is how tosay it.When I’m preparing my messages I ask myself two questions about what to say and I ask myself six questions about how to say it.I.
To whom will I be preaching?
1 Corinthians 9:22-23 says this
“Whatever a person is like I try to find common ground with him so he will let me tell him about Christ and let Christ save him. I do this to get the gospel to him.”
Paul always start with his audience. Paul says who am I going to speak to. I start with myaudience. So did Jesus in Luke 11:17 it says,
“Jesus knew their thoughts.”
 So the first question you want to ask is “Who’s going to be my audience?” I try to picture them inmy mind. I ask myself three questions about the audience I’m going to be preaching to. I ask What are their needs? What are their hurts? And, What are their interests?What are their needs? The problems, stresses and challenges that they’re facing?What are their hurts? The fact is everybody’s hurting somewhere. They may be hiding it buteverybody has a hurt.What are their interests? What are the issues that they’re thinking about? Annually, at leastannually, I survey our congregation to find out what they’re thinking? What their interests are.Too often we’re answering questions in our preaching and teaching that nobody’s asking. I sawthis cartoon the other day. A guy kind of bug-eyed sitting on the side of his bed. He says, “Mywife just left me, I lost my job, and my spirit has hit bottom. Pastor, you’ve got to help me!What’s the difference between pre-, post-, and ammilenialism?”I hate to tell you this, folks, but the burning issue on the street is not the difference betweenconsubstantiation and transubstantiation. There just aren’t that many people asking that questionout in the world. The average person is saying, “My wife just left me, my daughter’s pregnant, myson’s on drugs. Is there a word from God? Does God have anything to say about the things thatI’m going through?” Too often we’re answering questions nobody’s asking.God says begin with the hearer’s needs. Ephesians 4:29
“Speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”
Circle “only.” This is notmy command. This is a command from the Bible. God commands you when you speak inconversation, speak only what’s helpful in building others up … according to your needs? No.According to the hearer’s needs.If that’s true in conversation it’s also true in preaching. You need to speak only what’s helpful for  building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.The fact is you would go crazy if you had to consciously respond to every sight and sound andsymbol in life. So God has graciously put at the back of your brain a little filter. It’s at the base of your brain. It’s called the reticular activating system. You could look this up in any science book,any neurology book. It’s the reticular activating system. It’s right at the base of your brain. Whatthat does is it filters out things. If you had to consciously respond to everything you’d go crazy.3

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